The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index posted its biggest percentage jump in eight months on Thursday boosted by stronger rates across vessel segments.
The Baltic index, which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels that ferry dry bulk commodities, jumped 37 points, or 6.6%, to 599, its biggest daily percentage gain since July 04, 2019.
“The market has started to improve as the supply/demand balance is tightening,” said Randy Giveans, senior vice president of equity research at Jefferies.
“We certainly expect demand and rates (for capesizes) to improve in the coming months.”
The capesize index rose 46 points to -307.
Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000-180,000 tonne cargoes including iron ore and coal, rose by $285 to $2,515.
“On the demand side, China is starting to stimulate and return to work, so that is certainly driving incremental cargoes. On the supply side, vessels continue to slow down and older ships are being scrapped,” Giveans said.
Shipping demand from China has been subdued as the coronavirus outbreak has forced authorities to shut factories and mills.
The panamax index climbed 65 points, or 6.8%, to 1026, its highest since Dec. 24.
The index registered its 21th straight session of gains.
Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000-70,000 tonnes, gained $580 to $9,231.
“Healthier levels have been seen in all regions, especially from East Coast South America grains,” ship broker Fearnleys said in a note on Wednesday, referring to the panamax segment.
“Shipowners have mostly been getting higher rates… although the majority of the improved fixtures in the East have been limited to the better-described ships.”
The supramax index rose 25 points to 671.