Baltic index logs biggest fall in a month on slipping vessel rates

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The Baltic Exchange’s dry bulk sea freight index fell on Tuesday to a nearly seven-week low in its worst showing in more than a month, as rates across vessel segments hit multi-week lows.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, lost 147 points, or 7.3%, to 1,875, hitting a fresh low since Nov. 23.

The capesize index dropped by 350 points, or 9.7%, to 3,249, also logging its biggest daily fall since Dec. 7.

Average daily earnings for capesize vessels, which typically transports 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, decreased $2,910 to $26,941.

Iron ore futures fell for a fourth consecutive session, albeit at a slower pace, as steelmakers in top consumer China remained cautious on pre-holiday restocking amid lackluster steel demand.

The panamax index fell 71 points, or 4.4%, to a two-month low of 1,534, for its eighth straight session of declines.

Average daily earnings for panamax vessels, which usually carries about 60,000 to 70,000 tons of coal or grain cargo, slipped by $639 to $13,810.

Among smaller vessels, the supramax index was down for the 19th consecutive session. It fell 32 points to 1,162.

Iranian-backed Houthi militants in Yemen have stepped up attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, impacting the vital Suez Canal trade route. In response, some shipping companies have instructed vessels to instead sail around southern Africa, a slower and more expensive route.

Source: Reuters