The Baltic Exchange’s dry bulk sea freight index slipped to a two-week low on Wednesday as a decline in the larger capesize segment outweighed higher panamax and supramax vessel rates.
The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize vessels, fell by 172 points, or 3.2%, to 5,206.
The capesize index fell 602 points, or 6.3%, to 8,988, its lowest since Sept. 30.
Average daily earnings for capesizes, which transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, fell $4,995 to $74,540.
Iron ore demand could cool off towards year-end on slowing Chinese steel output due to emissions-related curbs, brokerage Jefferies said in a note.
The brokerage, however, noted China and India were moving to replenish depleted coal inventories amid an energy crunch ahead of winter.
It added that despite some volatility into year-end, caused by the recent Chinese Golden Week holidays and ongoing power outage issues in China, rates were likely to remain strong.
Iron ore futures in top steel producer China tumbled on Wednesday, leading a selloff driven by persistent unease about debt-saddled Chinese property firms and a bearish demand outlook.
The panamax index added 52 points, or 1.3%, to 3,958.
Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which ferry 60,000-70,000 tonne coal or grain cargoes, increased by $474 to $35,624.
The supramax index added 41 points to an all-time high of 3,502, according to Refinitiv Eikon going back until 2017.