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Baltic index slips to one-month low on weak capesize demand

The Baltic Exchange’s dry bulk sea freight index fell to its lowest level in over a month on Monday, weighed down by lower rates in the capesize and supramax vessel segments.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize vessels, fell by 153 points, or 3.5%, to 4,257, its lowest since Sept. 17.

The capesize index fell 423 points, or 6.8%, to 5,782, its lowest since Sept. 10.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, fell $3,513 to $47,950.

Import volumes of coal and iron ore to China have not been particularly “impressive” this year but port congestion combined with market sentiment has been driving the capesize vessel segment so far, said Emily Stausbøll, an analyst at BIMCO Shipping.

Additionally, many ship owners have already locked in a large share of tonnage and are unlikely to see “loss-making freight rates” this year, she added.

Dalian iron ore futures advanced on Monday, recovering from last week’s selloff that dragged the benchmark prices to multi-week lows, but worries over slumping steel demand in China kept overall enthusiasm in check.

The panamax index added 1 point to 4,328, its highest in over 11 years.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which ferry 60,000-70,000 tonne coal or grain cargoes, increased by $7 to $38,952.

The supramax index fell 37 points to 3,547.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Kavya Guduru in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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