Baltic index hits near 12-week high on heavy capesize demand

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The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, rose to a near 12-week high on Tuesday, helped by higher rates for all vessel segments, especially capesizes.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, was up 122 points, or about 8.3%, to 1,587 – its highest since Dec. 22.

The capesize index gained 289 points, or about 15.9%, to a more than 11-week high of 2,110.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, increased $2,401 to $17,500.

“With Brazil iron ore exports up noticeably compared with this time last year we might expect a firm capesize market to remain for a while,” shipbroker Allied wrote in a weekly report.

The panamax index rose 63 points, or about 3.8%, to an over four-month high of 1,743.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, increased $564 to $15,685

Among smaller vessels, the supramax index was up 28 points at 1,263.

“For the smaller sizes, the continuation of the Black Sea grain deal, low crop yields in Argentina, and a bumper, but delayed, Brazilian crop will keep the market interesting over the coming weeks, as grain flows shift from established patterns,” Allied added.

Meanwhile, Dalian iron ore futures pulled back from a contract high on Tuesday, although losses were limited by buoyant steel prices in top steel producer China.

Source: Reuters

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