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Baltic index hits 6-month low as rates across vessels slump

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index slipped to a six-month trough on Thursday pressured by losses across vessel segments, with capesizes snapping a three-day winning streak.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, and supramax shipping vessels, fell 36 points, or 2.3%, to 1,556 points, its lowest since Feb. 8.

The capesize index lost 84 points, or 5.2%, to 1,538 points on its worst day in a week.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, were down $698 at $12,757.

Indonesia’s ban on coal exports by 48 miners over unmet domestic obligations, combined with the EU ban on Russian coal imports, makes it “even more likely that India and China will buy more of their coal from Russia in the coming months,” said Niels Rasmussen, chief shipping analyst at BIMCO, in a weekly note.

Given that top exporter Indonesia accounted for nearly a third of global coal shipments in 2021, which made up 8% of dry bulk cargo demand, “the two shifts in supply patterns will drive up average sailing distance for global coal shipments and bulk demand overall,” Rasmussen added.

The panamax index was down for the 13th straight session, shedding five points, or 0.3%, at 1,927 points, its lowest in over three weeks.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, decreased $46 to $17,339.

The supramax index extended losses, falling 23 points to 1,591 points, its lowest since Feb. 3.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Deep Vakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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