Baltic index hits near 1-month low on weaker vessel rates

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The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, slipped to its lowest level in almost a month on Tuesday, weighed down by lower rates across all segments.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, fell by 13 points, or 0.72%, to 1,784, its lowest level since May 2.

The capesize index lost 5 points, or 0.19%, to 2,608.

Average daily earnings for capesize vessels, which typically transport 150,000-ton cargoes of iron ore and coal, among others, decreased $41 to $21,633.

The dry bulk market saw a 74% decrease in transits and a 25% drop in cargo volume from January to April 2024, due to Panama Canal’s daily transit limits. Sailing distances on affected routes increased by 31%, leading to a slight 1% drop in tonne mile demand,” BIMCO’s shipping analyst Filipe Gouveia wrote in a note.

Iron ore futures prices fell to their lowest level in a week, reversing earlier gains in the session due to investor caution amid subdued steel demand in China, despite recent property stimulus measures.

The panamax index was down 23 points, or about 1.26%, at 1,801, marking its lowest level since April 16.

Average daily earnings for panamax vessels, which usually carry about 60,000-70,000 tons of coal or grain cargo, fell $203 to $16,213.

Among smaller vessels, the supramax index eased for the tenth consecutive session by 17 points, or 1.28%, to 1,309, marking its lowest level since April 15.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis said on Monday they launched attacks on three ships in the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea and two U.S. destroyers in the Red Sea.

Source: Reuters