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Baltic index inches up, sees best month on record

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index edged higher on Tuesday, helped by gains in supramax and panamax vessel rates, and marked its best month on record.

The Baltic dry index, which tracks rates for ships ferrying dry bulk commodities and reflects rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels, rose 5 points, or 0.3%, to 1,799.

The index surged about 257% in June, driven by a pick-up in iron ore demand from China, following the easing of coronavirus-led lockdowns in many countries.

The Baltic capesize index, which had fallen to -48 in mid-May, eased 5 points, to 4,320.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport cargoes of 170,000 tonnes to 180,000 tonnes, including iron ore and coal, rose by $79 to $30,857.

Iron ore import demand in China is the key driver of the recent rally in capesize rates to more than $30,000 per day, Randy Giveans, vice-president, equity research, at Jefferies said in a note.

“Brazilian production has stabilized and Chinese iron ore inventories are at 3-year lows, which should lead to a new restocking period.”

The panamax index inched up by a point to 1,257.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, was up by $8 at $11,315.

The supramax index was 4 points higher at 683.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

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