Baltic index extends losses on weaker vessel demand

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The Baltic Exchange’s dry bulk sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, inched lower for the second consecutive session on Thursday, weighed down by weaker rates across all vessel segments.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, dropped 27 points, or 1.1%, at 2,411.

The capesize index was down 30 points, or 0.7%, to 4,276.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, declined $248 to $35,463.

Chinese iron ore futures extended declines as the market digested a lack of new stimulus measures and data showing weaker-than-expected bank lending last month.

The panamax index fell to its lowest level since mid-November, losing 38 points, or 2%, at 1,915.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, lost $346 to $17,231.

“In the North Atlantic, a surplus of vessels has led to a softer market, giving charterers the upper hand to negotiate lower rates and favorable terms,” shipbroker Fearnleys wrote in a weekly note dated Wednesday.

Fearnleys said the North Atlantic scenario contrasts with the South Atlantic, which is performing well due to increased activity and higher rates driven by regional demand.

Among smaller vessels, the supramax index was down 21 points, or 1.4% to 1,442 – its lowest level in two weeks.

Source: Reuters

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