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Baltic index logs best week in over six months on strong vessel demand

The Baltic Exchange’s main dry bulk sea freight index rose on Friday, clocking its biggest weekly percentage gain since March as demand across all vessel segments remained strong.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, rose for the eighth straight session by 41 points, or 3.1%, to 1,381.

The main index posted a 16.4% gain for the week.

The capesize index, added 90 points, or about 6%, to 1,602, hitting its highest level in a month. The index advanced by 24.3% this week

Average daily earnings for capesize vessels, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes carrying commodities such as iron ore and coal, increased $747 to $13,284.

Iron ore futures gained, with the Singapore benchmark on course for its highest weekly increase since June, boosted by China’s decision to boost economic stimulus efforts even though the country’s steel output fell in August.

The panamax index edged up by 14 points, to 1,656. It was up by 11.2% for the week.

“The Panamax market remains buoyant, with high vessel counts in East Coast South America boosting a rally that has seen the BPI index reach new highs since July,” shipbroker Fearnleys wrote in a weekly note.

“Factors such as increased vessels heading to the US and a low vessel presence East of Suez could further spur the rally,” the note adds.

Average daily earnings for panamax vessels, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, rose $125 to $14,906.

Among smaller vessels, the supramax index added 25 points or 2.1% to 1,221 points.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Daksh Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Tasim Zahid)

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