The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index dropped to a more than four-month low on Wednesday, pressured by weaker demand across vessel segments.
The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, and supramax shipping vessels, was down 53 points, or 4.8%, to 1,043, its lowest level since Sept. 1.
The capesize index lost 66 points, or 4.3%, to 1,470.
Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, were down $553 at $12,188.
The panamax index, which has not seen a single day of gains since mid-December, dropped by 63 points, or 5.3%, to 1,126.
Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, fell by $568 to $10,137.
“An increase in economic activity in China following the relaxation of COVID restrictions could boost coal import demand in 2023,” said Filipe Gouveia, shipping analyst at BIMCO, in a weekly note.
has allowed three central government-backed utilities and its top steelmaker to resume coal imports from Australia, the first such move since Beijing imposed an unofficial ban on coal trade with Canberra in 2020.
Among smaller vessels, the supramax index fell for the 14th consecutive session by 41 points to 762.