Baltic index unchanged as panamax gains overshadow capesize loss
The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index remained flat on Thursday, as higher rates for panamax vessels offset weaker rates for other vessel categories.
The Baltic index, which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels that ferry dry bulk commodities, was unchanged at 421.
The main index slid to a near 4-year low of 411 earlier this week.
The capesize index fell 25 points to negative 284.
Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000-180,000 tonne cargoes including iron ore and coal, fell $181 to $2,532.
“The (capesize) market is still sliding with few signs of an imminent turnaround. Preliminary indicators of China’s coal consumption, steel production and iron ore imports show a complete collapse (during) the last few weeks,” ship broker Fearnleys said in a note on Wednesday.
Iron ore spot prices rallied after Brazil’s Vale on Tuesday revised down its iron ore production forecast for Q1 2020 to 63-68 million tonnes, from 68-73 million tonnes, due to recent heavy rains.
The panamax index rose 30 points, or 5.2%, to 612.
Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, increased $272 to $5,506.
The supramax index fell 4 points to 468.
It was another horrifying week for supramax owners, with many in Asia refusing to take a negative cost, Fearnleys noted, adding “oversupply of tonnage in Atlantic and poor cargo supply pushed the market further down”.