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Buoyant rates lift Baltic index to near three-week high

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freightindex surged to its highest since late January on Tuesday asforward-looking market sentiment lifted capesize rates, andsmaller vessel segments continued to firm.

The Baltic dry index, which tracks rates forcapesize,panamax and supramax vessels ferrying dry bulk commodities,gained 131 points, or 9.6%, to 1,495, a peak since Jan. 27.

The capesize index jumped 224 points, or 17.8%, to1,485- its strongest since Feb. 5.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typicallytransport150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, were up $1,857to $12,314.

It is the FFA (Forward Freight Agreement) sentiment thatispushing up the capesize index, which could be coming from hopesof further vaccine rollouts boosting demand,” said RebeccaGalanopoulos Jones, head of research at Alibra Shipping.

As per the Baltic Exchange, Forward Freight Agreements arecommodity derivatives which derive from the underlying physicalshipping markets. They provide a mechanism for companies to takeon price risk through an exposure to global trade and are animportant element of the shipping markets.

The panamax index advanced 175 points, or 8.8%, at2,172, its highest level since Sept. 9, 2019. The index was upfor the ninth session in a row.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carrycoalor grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, added$1,573 to $19,549.

The supramax index rose 30 points to 1,262, itshighestlevel since end-September, 2019.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Bharat Govind Gautam in Bengaluru; Editing byAnil D’Silva)

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