Baltic index touches over one-week peak on capesize strength

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The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships ferrying dry bulk commodities, rose to a more than one-week high on Wednesday on higher demand for capesize vessels.

The Baltic dry index, which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels, rose 35 points, or 1.7%, to 2,127, its highest since March 29.

The capesize index jumped 181 points, or 7.2%, to an over two-month high of 2,709.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes of coal and steel-making ingredient iron ore, were up $1,506 at $22,468.

Asia’s benchmark iron ore futures rose on Wednesday as record steel prices in China prompted investors to make tentative bets, despite production cuts in the country’s steelmaking hub that have clouded the demand outlook for the raw material.

“The week after the holidays continues on a slow downward trend for the smaller sizes, while the outlook for capesizes is positive, absorbing strength from the smaller sizes and with better fundamentals expected out of Brazil,” shipbroker Intermodal said in a weekly research note.

“Demand for iron ore is set to accelerate amid China’s construction season.”

The panamax index fell 73 points, or 3%, to 2,358, its lowest since March 15.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,00 tonnes, were down $662 at $21,218.

The supramax index dropped 17 points to an over one-month low of 1,792.

Source: Reuters

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