Decline in bigger vessels drags Baltic index to monthly dip

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The Baltic exchange’s main sea freight index tracing rates for ships ferrying dry bulk commodities recorded its first monthly decline in three months on Thursday, pressured by lower rates for the larger capesize and panamax vessel segments.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, edged down by 8 points, to 1,086.

The main index shed 3.6% for the month of August.

The capesize index fell 29 points or 2.6% to 1,094 on Thursday, its lowest level in almost six months. The index lost 41.6% for the month.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, decreased $238 at $9,072.

The panamax index fell 18 points or 1.2% to 1,503.

The index gained 50.9% for the month, recording its best monthly percentage rise since September.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, decreased $163 at $13,526.

“Despite some positive indicators, a gap remains between owners’ asking prices and what charterers are willing to pay, especially in the Pacific market,” shipbroker Fearnleys wrote in a weekly note, referring to the panamax segment.

Iron ore futures rallied to their highest in five weeks, underpinned by better-than-expected economic data and the latest batch of stimulus measures in China, the world’s largest consumer of the steelmaking ingredient.

Among smaller vessels, the supramax index .BSIS gained 20 points, or about 2.1%, at 962. The index climbed by 33.8% for the month.

Source: Reuters

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