Baltic index hits near 6-week low on lower vessel demand

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FILE PHOTO: Cargo ships navigate the Panama Canal during an organized media tour by Italy's Salini Impregilo, one of the main sub contractors of the Panama Canal Expansion project, on the outskirts of Colon city, Panama May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso/File Photo

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, fell for a ninth straight session on Tuesday to a near six-week low as rates fell across vessel segments.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, fell by 107 points, or 5.9%, to 1,714 points.

The capesize index lost 243 points, or 9.2%, at 2,394, its lowest level in nearly two months.

Average daily earnings for capesize vessels, which typically transports 150,000-ton cargoes such as iron ore and coal, decreased by $2,014 to $19,852.

“While there has been a notable drop in the baltic exchange’s capesize and panamax indices, they are still significantly higher than a year ago… However, there are signs of cooling demand for capesize ships,” said Filipe Gouveia, BIMCO shipping market analyst

The panamax index, fell by 63 points or 3.4%, at 1,816 points, hitting it lowest level in four weeks.

Average daily earnings for panamax vessels, which usually carries about 60,000-70,000 tons of coal or grain cargo, fell $572 at $16,341.

Among smaller vessels, the supramax index shed 28 points or 2.1% to 1,303 points.

Dalian iron ore futures rose after a five-session slide, as Chinese buyers ramped up purchases ahead of public holidays later in the week.

The Chinese real estate sector’s instability is impacting the broader economy and steel demand, with iron ore prices hitting a ten-month low. Although Chinese iron ore demand could still rise despite the real estate sector’s weakness, ongoing crisis may restrict demand growth, Gouveia added.

Meanwhile, the Port of Baltimore opened a temporary channel on Monday, freeing some tugs and barges that had been trapped by last week’s bridge collapse, but officials said wider restoration of commercial shipping remained frustrated by unyielding conditions.

Source: Reuters