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Baltic index hits 5-1/2 year high on strong capesize demand

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index rose to its highest since December 2013 on Tuesday, lifted by robust demand for capesize vessels shipping iron ore.

The Baltic index, which tracks rates for ships ferrying dry bulk commodities, gained 45 points, or 2.1%, to 2,213, a level last seen more than 5-1/2 years earlier.

“Capesizes are certainly leading the market higher and pulling up Panamax rates with them. We are seeing strong fixture activity in both the Pacific and Atlantic markets,” said Randy Giveans, vice president, equity research at Jefferies.

“Market seems pretty strong for the foreseeable future as newbuilding deliveries remain minimal,” he added.

The capesize index jumped 91 points, or 2.3%, to 4,082, its highest in more than a month.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000-180,000 tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, rose $679 to $31,116.

Iron ore shipments have risen after the resumption of operations at Vale’s mines in Brazil following a dam disaster early this year, and as Australian ports ramp up shipments since a cyclone struck in March.

China is set to receive 103.65 million tonnes of iron ore in August that would be the highest in at least two years, according to vessel-tracking and port data compiled by Refinitiv.

The panamax index rose 22 points, or 1%, to 2,218, its highest since July 23.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, rose $177 to $17,760.

The supramax index gained 37 points to 1,286, its highest in more than 5-1/2 years.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Shreyansi Singh in Bengaluru;)

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