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Baltic index rises as smaller vessels lend support

The Baltic Exchange’s dry bulk sea freight index rose on Thursday, buoyed by gains for panamax and supramax vessels that countered a dip in rates for the larger capesize segment.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels, gained 24 points, or 1%, to 2,678 points.

The capesize index shed 46 points, or 1.2%, to 3,776.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, fell $390 to $24,355.

Despite a decrease in Brazil-China iron ore trade volumes, recent iron ore price developments and news around the coal market could suggest an end-year rally, shipbroker Fearnleys said in a weekly note dated Wednesday.

Iron ore stretched a rally into a fifth straight session, supported by improved sentiment towards China’s property sector.

“If the BDI (main dry bulk index) continues to slump, it should not be seen as a sign that global logistics are improving or that supply chain bottlenecks are easing, it will merely reflect weakness in China’s commodity demand,” Capital Economics said in a note, attributing a recent slump in the index to a sharp drop in Chinese steel production.

The main index saw steady declines for most of October and into early November, and hit a five-month low on Nov. 17.

The panamax index rose 111 points, or 4.7%, to 2,489.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which carry 60,000-70,000 tonne coal or grain cargoes, increased by $999 to $22,404.

The supramax index added 29 points to its highest level in two weeks at 2,284.

The number of supramax vessels heading to major loading countries in Asia are close to all-time highs, pointing to a bullish outlook for the segment, Fearnleys added.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Kavya Guduru in Bengaluru; Editing by Pravin Char)

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