The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, fell the most in three weeks on Thursday, pressured by lower rates across all vessel segments.
The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, dropped 32 points, or about 2%, to 1,608 — its biggest one-day fall since April 18.
The capesize index lost 64 points, or 2.4%, to 2,566.
Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes carrying commodities such as iron ore and coal, fell by $538 to $21,276.
“Australian coal has been more active recently. All in all it looks good, but some more Brazilian iron ore would be needed in order to lift rates up to next level,” shipbroker Fearnleys wrote in a weekly report, referring to the capesize segment.
Iron ore dipped, with Dalian futures retreating from a more than two-week high and the Singapore benchmark contract sinking back below $100 a tonne on scepticism over prospects of demand recovery in China.
The panamax index fell 36 points, or 2.4%, to 1,445 — its lowest since Feb. 28.
Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, declined by $324 to $13,009.
“The North Atlantic was still widely gapped between the grain and mineral trades, while trade ex-South America remained slow,” Fearnleys noted.
Among smaller vessels, the supramax index lost 2 points to 1,112.