Baltic index rises on panamax vessel demand
The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, rose on Wednesday, as gains in the panamax segment countered losses in capesize rates.
The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, rose 16 points, or about 1%, to 1,603 – its highest since Dec. 22.
The panamax index was up 25 points, or about 1.4%, to 1,768 – its highest since Oct. 28.
“Seaborne-wise, we expect to see some support from the grain trade to the dry bulk market in the coming months,” shipbroker Intermodal wrote in a weekly report.
“More specifically, in the wheat market, a favorable combination of the current increased activity in the USG and Australia paired with the recovery of Chinese demand, as well as the country’s low inventories, will particularly favour the mid-sized bulkers.”
Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, increased $227 to $15,912.
The capesize index lost 6 points, snapping its 17-session streak of gains at 2,104.
Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, decreased $47 to $17,453.
Among smaller vessels, the supramax index rose 33 points, or about 2.6%, to 1,296.
Meanwhile, benchmark iron ore futures held ground on Wednesday as China’s activity data in January and February pointed to an economic rebound, albeit gradual, for the world’s top steel producer.