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Baltic index extends rally, hits 13-year high on capesize surge

The Baltic Exchange’s main dry bulk sea freight index extended its rally on Tuesday, rising about 5% to its highest in 13 years, steered by strong gains in capesize rates, and helped by demand for smaller vessels.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize vessels, jumped 245 points, or 5.2%, to 4,962, its highest since September 2008.

The capesize index advanced 722 points, or 9.5%, to 8,322, hitting its highest in 13 years.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, rose $5,983 to $69,013.

“High iron ore export seasonality, surging demand for coal imports amid an energy supply crunch both in Asia and Europe, along with high capesize congestion in Chinese ports are driving the capesize rates – trans-Pacific leading the capesize freight rally at this point” said Tamara Apostolou, analyst at Intermodal Research.

“The outlook for the Baltic index is positive for the rest of the year but slight volatility is expected. There might be some slowdown in cargo procurement next week as it is the Golden Week in China, but any effect on freight will depend largely on the pace of congestion release,” added Apostolou.

Chinese coking coal and coke futures surged on Tuesday, fuelled by concerns of tight supply amid Beijing’s toughening emissions standards, although demand for the steelmaking ingredients remained tepid as mills cut production.

The panamax index rose 10 points, or 0.2%, to 4,030, its highest since July 12.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which ferry 60,000-70,000 tonne coal or grain cargoes, increased $91 to $36,271.

The supramax index rose 10 points to 3,373.

Source: Reuters

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