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Baltic index hits 12-year peak on firmer vessels rates

The Baltic Exchange’s main dry bulk sea freight index rose for a fourth straight session on Wednesday to a 12-year high, buoyed by higher rates across vessel segments.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize vessels, rose 150 points, or 3.4%, to 4,560, its highest since November 2009.

Strong iron ore and coal trades are driving dry bulk rates higher, brokerage Jefferies said in a note.

“Congestion and other inefficiencies related to COVID-19 and geopolitical tensions are benefiting the dry bulk market by removing effective fleet supply,” it said.

The capesize index increased by 415 points, or 6.1%, to 7,200, hitting its highest in 12 years.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, rose by $3,446 to $59,715.

Increasing iron ore production and exports from Brazil and Australia, as well as coal demand from India and China to replenish stocks ahead of a colder winter, has aided the rise in the capesize segment, Jefferies said.

Iron ore futures in Asia rebounded on Wednesday, although doubts lingered whether gains could be sustained given the collapse in China’s demand and improving supply prospects.

The panamax index rose 31 points, or 0.8%, to 3,961, its highest in more than ten weeks.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which ferry 60,000-70,000 tonne coal or grain cargoes, increased by $274 to $35,647.

Among smaller vessels, the supramax index rose for a sixth straight session, adding 11 points to 3,338, its highest in over two weeks.

Source: Reuters

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