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Baltic index hits lowest since early March on tepid demand

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index , tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, on Thursday fell to its lowest since early March as demand slowed across all vessel segments.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize shipping vessels, was down 16 points, or 1.71 percent, at 918 points.

The capesize index lost 59 points, or 3.57 percent, at 1,595 points.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargo such as iron ore and coal, were down $427 to $11,750.

The panamax index dipped 1 point, or 0.12 percent, at 848 points.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain weighing about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, fell $4 to $6,819, the lowest since early January.

“Lack of fresh cargoes especially from South America and a growing tonnage list is again putting pressure on the freight rates (for panamaxes),” ship brokerage firm Fearnleys said in a weekly report on Wednesday.

“With China off Monday and Tuesday next week there are some expectations for further rate drops, while the north Atlantic seems to have reached a floor but unlikely there will be much improvement in the coming days.”

Among smaller vessels, the supramax index was down 9 points at 728 points, and the handysize index fell 5 points to 473 points.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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