Baltic index clocks second monthly gain as capesize rates improve

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The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index rose on Wednesday, marking its second straight monthly gain, as rates for capesize vessels climbed higher on improved iron ore demand from China.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize shipping vessels tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, was up 67 points, or 4%, at 1,725 points.

In September, the main index has risen about 16%.

The capesize index gained 220 points, or 7.7%, to 3,091 points, registering a 39.4% monthly gain.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, were up $1,818 at $25,631.

“The Brazil to China route with iron ore is the main driver where it’s been a lot of activity with levels up 18% from last week,” ship broker Fearnleys said in a weekly note.

“For now, the market seems very solid and with a thin available tonnage list for Brazil it is expected to see further near-term improvement.”

Iron ore futures surged on Wednesday, with the Chinese benchmark jumping 5%, as the coronavirus outbreak on a bulk carrier at Australia’s Port Hedland reignited fears about supply disruptions.

The panamax index was down 17 points, or 1.2%, at 1,374 points, sliding 15% in the month.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, decreased $149 to $12,367.

Among smaller vessels, the supramax index fell 4 points to 995 points.
Source: Reuters

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