Baltic index hits near two-week low as vessel demand dips

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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, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, slipped to its lowest level in nearly two weeks on Thursday, weighed down by weaker rates across all segments.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, fell 72 points, or 3.81%, to 1,817.

The capesize index slipped 141 points, or 5.22%, to 2,558.

Average daily earnings for capesize vessels, which typically transport 150,000-ton cargoes of iron ore and coal, among others, decreased $1,165 to $21,218.

Iron ore futures prices rebounded on Thursday as news of Chinese authorities considering government purchases of unsold homes lifted investor sentiment and demand outlook for the key steelmaking ingredient.

The panamax index was down 60 points, or about 3.15%, at 1,845, its lowest level since April 30.

Average daily earnings for panamax vessels, which usually carry about 60,000-70,000 tons of coal or grain cargo, fell $539 to $16,602.

Among smaller vessels, the supramax index eased 28 points, or 1.93%, to 1,425.

Meanwhile, U.S. navy’s destroyer, the USS Mason, intercepted an inbound Houthi anti-ship missile over the Red Sea on Monday, U.S. Central Command said in a statement, after Yemen’s Houthis said on Wednesday they had targeted the warship.

Source: Reuters