Baltic index falls for the month as vessel demand wanes

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The Baltic exchange’s main sea freight index recorded its first monthly decline in four on Wednesday, on weakness in shipping rates across all segments, with lower coal demand dragging the capesize segment down in particular.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, fell 146 points, or 13.0%, to its lowest since Feb. 27 at 977.

The main index was down 38% for the month, its biggest drop since January.

The capesize index lost 376 points or 24% at 1,218, registering its biggest percentage fall since Feb. 14.

The index lost 47.1% for the month – its first monthly fall in four.

“With regard to the Atlantic basin, the decline in the coal utilization from Western Europe is the main reason for the drop in the capesize index,” said Yannis Parganas, director at Intermodal Research.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, decreased $3,122 at $10,099.

The panamax index shed 45 points to 1,045. The index fell 34.1% for the month, its worst monthly drop since August.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, decreased $406 at $9,405.

Futures prices of ferrous metals were broadly lower, hurt by weaker-than-expected Chinese economic data.

“Coal stems toward both China and Europe were limited while grain activity was also subdued with a plethora of ballasters adding further pressure on rates” Intermodal said in a weekly wrote referring to the panamax segment.

Among smaller vessels, the supramax index lost 29 points, or about 3.2%, at 881, to hit its lowest since late February.

Source: Reuters

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