Baltic index hits over 3-month low amid lower coal imports

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The Baltic exchange’s main sea freight index extended losses for the 15th session straight on Thursday, hitting its more than three-month low as shipping rates fell across all vessel segments.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, fell 40 points, or 4.1%, to its lowest since Feb. 24 at 937.

Weaker demand for imported coal in Europe, improved supply and a seasonal lull in some of the coal trades into China are the factors pressuring overall index, said Alexis Ellender, dry bulks analyst at Kpler.

The capesize index lost 74 points or 6.1% at 1,144, hitting its lowest level since March 2.

“Bumpy economic recovery in China could weigh on the freight market in the future. However, the demand for coal and other commodities is expected to rebound in the upcoming months due to seasonal factors,” Ellender added.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, decreased $612 to $9,487.

The panamax index (.BPNI) shed 15 points or 1.4% to 1,030 – its lowest since Feb. 22.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, decreased $135 to $9,270.

“With a distinct lack of activity in the Atlantic basin, sentiment remained weaker with rates continuing to slide,” shipbroker Fearnleys wrote in a note dated Wednesday, referring to panamax segment.

Among smaller vessels, the supramax index lost 34 points, or about 3.9%, at 847, to hit its lowest since late February.

Source: Reuters

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