In May, the FBX index exhibited a consistent upward trend. The index commenced at $2,409 and concluded at $3,508 by 31 May, marking a $1,099 increase per FEU.

FBX01 – China/East Asia to North America West Coast – also experienced a significant rise throughout May. The spot price was $3,077/FEU on 1 May and reached $5,027 by the month’s end, representing a 63% increase.

FBX02 – North America West Coast to China/East Asia – also saw a sharp rise. Initially steady at $357/FEU during the first week, the price spiked to $598 and then $753 by the end of May. The forward curve mirrored this surge, with Q4 24, Q1 25, and Cal25 rising from $310 to $620, $605, and $520, respectively, representing a 100% increase in the Q4 24 forward price.

FBX03 – China/East Asia to North America East Coast – started May with a spot price of $4,207, rising sharply to $5,421 and plateauing mid-month. By the end of May, the spot price increased steadily to $6,805, a nearly 62% rise.

FBX11 – China/East Asia to North Europe – followed a similar pattern with a steady increase from $3,436 at the start of May to $5,023 by month’s end, a 46% increase. The forward curve for FBX11 rose in line with spot rates.

Conversely, FBX12 – North Europe to China/East Asia – saw a small decrease early in the month, from $687 to $643, before rising to $946 by 31 May, a 38% overall increase. The forward curve mirrored this movement, with Q4 24 up to $840, Q1 25 to $830, and Cal25 to $800.

FBX13 – China/East Asia to the Mediterranean – rose steadily throughout May, increasing by $1,309 to close at $5,639. Once again, the forward curve followed this trend, with Q4 24 and Q1 25 rising to $5,150 and $5,050, respectively, and Cal25 reaching $4,800.

Overall, there was a notable increase in spot rates and forward curves across all FBX routes. This surge is partly attributed to Red Sea diversions causing a container shortage, prompting shippers to secure space earlier than usual. As a result, ocean spot rates in May reached their highest level in 20 months. Carriers preferred spot-paying cargo over contracted customers due to the significant rate increases.

Given the current market dynamics, a trading strategy worth considering involves spreading the backhaul routes (FBX02, FBX12) against the main routes (FBX11, FBX13). This approach offers potential value, particularly in selling main routes in deferred months and Cal25, with new capacity expected later in the year. However, it’s crucial to note that volatility and uncertainty remain high, impacting market conditions and pricing strategies.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News