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Baltic index extends fall as capesizes retreat

The Baltic Exchange’s dry bulk sea freight index fell for a fifth straight session to a two-week low on Thursday, as a dip in capesize rates overshadowed gains in other vessel segments.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize vessels, fell by 144 points, or 2.8%, to 5,062.

The capesize index fell 526 points, or 5.9%, to 8,462, its lowest since Sept. 28.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, fell $4,359 to $70,181.

While the Chinese, Indian and partly European energy crisis is driving a “desperate need” for coal, it might not be sufficient to compensate for a sudden drop in iron ore volumes, ship broker Fearnleys said in a weekly note on Wednesday.

Benchmark Dalian iron ore fell for a second consecutive session as the outlook for Chinese demand darkened, with Beijing turning more aggressive than expected in imposing steel output controls in the first quarter of 2022.

But shipping congestion “remains significant”, leaving a delicate supply and demand balance, Fearnleys added.

The panamax index added 65 points, or 1.6%, to 4,023, its fourth straight session of gains.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which ferry 60,000-70,000 tonne coal or grain cargoes, increased by $580 to $36,204.

The supramax index added 40 points to a record high of 3,542, according to Refinitiv Eikon going back until 2017.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Kavya Guduru in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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