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Lower rates across vessels drag Baltic index to 1-1/2 month low

The Baltic Exchange’s dry bulk sea freight index fell to a one-and-a-half month low on Wednesday and posted its biggest daily percentage fall since January, weighed down by weak demand across all vessel segments.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize vessels, fell by 248 points, or 6.1%, to 3,808, its lowest since Sept. 9.

The capesize index shed 476 points or about 9% to 4,828, a trough since Aug. 13.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, fell $3,945 to $40,040.

The earnings gap amongst ship sizes has “corrected to more sustainable levels into the current week”, shipbroker Intermodal said in a weekly note dated Tuesday, adding easing congestion at Chinese ports and resultant release of iron ore drove the weakness in capesizes last week.

The capesize index shed about 20% last week.

Dalian coking coal and coke futures fell tracking a slide in thermal coal after China’s state planner said it had asked major coal producing provinces to probe and regulate illegal storage sites, and to crack down on hoarding.

The panamax index slipped 148 points, or 3.5%, to $4,083, a more than one-week low.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which ferry 60,000-70,000 tonne coal or grain cargoes, decreased by $1,329 to $36,746.

The supramax index fell 153 points to 3,344, its fourth straight decline.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Kavya Guduru in Bengaluru; Editing by Arpan Varghese)

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