The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index dropped nearly 2 percent on Wednesday, weighed down by lower rates for capesize vessels ahead of a week-long Lunar Year break in China starting Thursday.
The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize shipping vessels, was down 19 points, or 1.71 percent, at 1,095 points.
Despite the Lunar New Year and the fact that the effects of the traditional slowdown are already visible, the Baltic index signals a positive period from March if the pattern of previous years repeats itself, shipbroker Intermodal said in a note.
The capesize index fell 72 points, or 4.02 percent, to 1,721 points.
Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, were down $762 at $13,313.
The panamax index was up for the first time in 13 sessions and climbed 3 points, or 0.24 percent, to 1,231 points.
Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, increased $29 to $9,885.
Among smaller vessels, the supramax index rose 6 points to 823 points, while the handysize index fell 2 points to 516 points.