The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index rose to its highest in over seven weeks on Wednesday, supported by higher shipping rates for all vessel segments.
The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, rose 109 points, or about 11%, to 1,099 — its highest since Jan. 10.
The dry bulk market looked optimistic in the short term on an expected increase in Chinese iron ore demand if construction activity recovers, and seasonal Brazilian exports, said Yiannis Parganas, head of Intermodal Research Department.
Iron ore futures jumped on Wednesday, as better-than-expected China manufacturing activity data raised hopes for a demand rebound in the world’s top steel producer.
However, headwinds in the short term such as reduced port congestion and weak global economic conditions could dampen rates, Parganas said.
Among other vessel segments, the capesize index rose 200 points, or 27.4%, to 929, marking its eighth straight session of gains.
Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, increased $1,661 to $7,703.
The panamax index gained 94 points, or about 6.6%, at 1,515, its highest in near 10 weeks.
Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, were up $849 at $13,634.
Among smaller vessels, the supramax index rose 51 points to 1,156.