Strong rates across vessels propel Baltic index to 12-year peak

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Strong rates across dry bulk vessel segments drove the Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index to their highest since 2009 on Thursday.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize vessels, rose 91 points, or 2%, to 4,651, to hit its near 12-year peak.

Shipping analysts have attributed the recent rally in the dry bulk market to global shipping constraints, including port congestion in China, and an overall rebound in commodities.

The capesize index increased by 238 points, or 3.3%, to 7,438, also hitting its highest in 12 years.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, rose by $1,968 to $6,1683.

In the capesize segment, there’s been “very limited amount of available tonnage to meet” healthy volume of cargoes, especially on the West Australia-China route, shipbroker Fearnleys said in a weekly note on Wednesday.

Also, there is limited number of vessels heading for Brazil and the Atlantic, which could impact the segment in days and weeks to come, it added.

Chinese coking coal futures soared to a two-week high as supply concerns resurfaced, pushing prices of steelmaking ingredient coke higher.

The panamax index rose 33 points, or 0.8%, to 3,994, its highest in more than 10 weeks.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which ferry 60,000-70,000 tonne coal or grain cargoes, increased by $300 to $35,947.

Among smaller vessels, the supramax index rose for a sixth straight session, adding 11 points to 3,349, its highest in three weeks.

Source: Reuters