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Baltic index at 5-1/2 year high on strong capesize, panamax rates

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index climbed to its highest since December 2013 on Friday, driven by firm demand for capesize and panamax vessels.

The Baltic index, which tracks rates for ships ferrying dry bulk commodities, rose nearly 2%, or 40 points, to 2,170, a peak since Dec. 24, 2013.

The index rose for the ninth session in a row, mainly spurred by strong demand for vessels that ship iron ore from Brazil into China.

“Vale has resumed operations at the 30 MMtpa Brucutu iron ore mine, leading to a massive surge in fixture activity and an even bigger rally in capesize spot rates,” Randy Giveans, vice president, equity research at Jefferies, said in a note.

The capesize index gained 123 points, or about 3%, to 4,379 points, a peak since October 2010.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000 tonne-180,000 tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, rose $546 to $32,765.

The panamax index rose 36 points, or 1.7%, to 2,170 points, its highest since December 2010.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, rose $295 to $17,348.

The supramax index was 29 points higher at 982 points.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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