Baltic index slides for seventh straight session

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The Baltic Exchange’s main dry bulk sea freight index on Wednesday fell for the seventh consecutive session to its lowest levels in more than a month, hurt by declining rates across all vessel segments.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, fell by 144 points, or 7.2%, to 1,845 points, its lowest since Feb. 22.

The capesize index lost 326 points, or 11%, at 2,638, down for the seventh straight session.

Average daily earnings for capesize vessels, which typically transports 150,000-ton cargoes such as iron ore and coal, decreased by $2,705 to $21,875.

Iron ore futures prices hit their lowest levels in more than one week, pressured by persistent concerns about demand in top consumer China amid a lack of significant policy measures to boost steel uptake.

The panamax index, fell by 103 points or 5%, at 1,941 points, hitting it lowest level in over two weeks.

Average daily earnings for panamax vessels, which usually carries about 60,000-70,000 tons of coal or grain cargo, fell $922 at $17,470.

Among smaller vessels, the supramax index .BSIS edged down to 1,353 points.

Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed on Tuesday after a container ship smashed into a pylon, with the six people missing presumed dead after falling into the frigid water below. The disaster forced the indefinite closure of the Port of Baltimore, one of the busiest on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.

With the suspension of traffic at Port of Baltimore, “overall it appears the market impact on container shipping and dry bulk will be relatively muted though at the margin this disruption does have some tightening effect,” Jefferies analysts wrote in a note.

Coal exports from the port have been disrupted, rail and coal companies said. During the first nine months of 2023, Baltimore exported about 20.3 million short tons of coal, up from 14.3 million short tons during the same period in 2022.

Source: Reuters