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Strong iron-ore demand propels Baltic to best week in 5 years

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index rose more than 2 percent on Friday, its best week in nearly five years, mainly fuelled by strong demand for vessels that ship iron ore from Brazil.

* The Baltic index, which tracks rates for ships ferrying dry bulk commodities, rose 40 points, or 2.4%, to 1,740 points, its highest since early August last year.

* The main index has risen 28% this week, its best week since week-ending Aug. 15, 2014.

* The index, which reflects rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels, has risen for 16 straight sessions.

* The capesize index rose 48 points, or 1.5%, to 3,346 points, extending gains for a 16th session and rising to its highest since August last year.

* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000 tonne-180,000 tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, increased $359 to $26,444.

* Increased iron ore demand has boosted shipments from Brazil and Australia, driving the capesize rally, analysts said.

* Iron ore prices have more than doubled this year as port stocks across China shrank to their lowest since early 2017 due to reduced shipments from top exporters Australia and Brazil, as well as robust demand.

* Brazil boosted iron ore exports after Vale SA restarted its Brucutu mine, which was shut in early February after a tailings dam burst, killing more than 240 people.

* Shipments of iron ore account for about a third of sea-borne volumes of the larger capesizes.

* The panamax index rose 96 points, or 6.1%, to 1,665 points, its highest since late October.

* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, increased $756 to $13,295.

* The supramax index edged 6 points higher to 820 points, its highest since end-March.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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