According to MANA, Indonesia continued to play a leading role with huge supply of coal cargoes that led to charter hire levels upstream, said Gulf Maritime brokers in a weekly report.
Also, the Far East saw a tightening of tonnage as ships near Hong Kong lost up to 10 days loading or discharging due to an early September typhoon. The extended waiting time kept a large number of handies off the market, creating short-term supply tightness in the spot market.
However, fixing activity ran out of steam in the Atlantic region, causing a few benchmark rates to decline by the end of the week.
Affinity shipbrokers pointed out that lower chartering activity in the Atlantic was mainly down to the lack of handy vessels and higher bunker prices due to limited supply in the region, which have led several charterers to move their vessels to other locations.
However, the pick-up in the Baltic Exchange Handysize Index came despite the muted activity in the Atlantic region, particularly the US east coast routes.
The index rose to 504 points on Friday, up 3.5% over the week and the highest in about four months.
The average weighted time charter rate advanced to $7,433 per day from $7,115, up 4.5% week on week and the highest since early May this year.
Freight rates on most of the benchmark trade lanes improved, with only HS4, the US Gulf trip via US Gulf or north coast South America to Skaw-Passero route, registering a decline of 4.1% over the week.
Meanwhile, 10% week-on-week growth was seen in the Rio de Janeiro-Recalada trip to Skaw-Passero HS3 route, which was assessed at $10,100 per day.
In the spot market, nine trades were reported since the beginning of this month, according to Clarksons.
A 2017-built, 37,700-dwt vessel was reported booked for a south Australian round redelivery south Asia in the low $9,000s, while another 37,000 dwt vessel was fixed for a trip from south east Australia to the Far East at $13,000 per day.
The Baltic Exchange reported a 2011-built, 34,400 dwt vessel was concluded in the period market for four to six months in the low $9,000s.
The secondhand market saw a 2010-built, 34,500 dwt vessel being sold by Singapore-based DD Shipping to an unnamed buyer at $10.5m, VesselsValue data shows.