Baltic Index Down on Virus Fears

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

February 4, 2020

© MagioreStockStudio / Adobe Stock

© MagioreStockStudio / Adobe Stock

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index dropped for the 13th consecutive session on Tuesday as waning demand across vessels and the coronavirus outbreak dampened sentiment.

The Baltic index, which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels to ferry dry bulk commodities, fell 13 points, or 2.8%, to 453.

The capesize index decreased 31 points to a negative 133, a fresh all-time low.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000-180,000 tonne cargoes including iron ore and coal, declined $170 to $3,496.

Iron ore futures in China fell to their lowest in about three months as investors remained concerned regarding the economic impact of a coronavirus which has led to 427 fatalities globally so far.

"The recent coronavirus outbreak seems to have brought about another stall in the global economy ... while several multinational and local companies have temporarily shut down operations in the country, amongst them, construction sites and steel production facilities," Allied Shipbroking said in a note on Monday.

As a result, demand for iron ore has been limited, while severe floods in Brazil last month, a key iron ore producing region, has reduced exports, limiting the availability of cargoes and further limiting activity in the capesize sector, Allied Shipbroking said.

Heavy rains in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais led to the deaths of 52 people, the state civil defense agency said last week.

The panamax index dropped 20 points, or 3.7%, to 526.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, dropped $172 to $4,738.

The supramax index dropped 3 points to 518. 

(Reporting by Anjishnu Mondal in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

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