The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, fell for the seventh straight session on Wednesday, as demand for capesize vessels remained weak.
The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, and supramax shipping vessels, was down 18 points, or 2.5%, at 703, a fresh two-and-a-half-year low.
The capesize index (.BACI) lost 54 points, or about 7.9%, at 631, the lowest since early June 2020.
Average daily earnings for capesizes (.BATCA), which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, lost $453 at $5,231.
“Although rates are currently low, market sentiment remains more positive for the rest of the year,” wrote Filipe Gouveia, shipping analyst at BIMCO, in a weekly note.
The panamax index (.BPNI) was flat at 1,035 points.
Average daily earnings for panamaxes (.BPWT), which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, were up $5 at $9,318.
Among smaller vessels, the supramax index (.BSIS) fell one point to 648.
“Heavy rainfalls in Brazil have disrupted operations leading to a slowdown in iron ore exports,” wrote shipbroker Intermodal in a weekly market report.
“Focus is now on the end of the Chinese break which could trigger a demand boost, which if coincides with an increase in grain export from March onwards we should anticipate rates to recover surpassing freight forward agreements expectations,” Intermodal said.