Baltic Index Jumps to 2-Week High

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

February 18, 2020

© masterskuz55 / Adobe Stock

© masterskuz55 / Adobe Stock

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index rose to a two-week high on Tuesday, as higher rates for panamax and supramax vessels more than offset the capesize segment lingering in the negative zone.

The Baltic index, which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels that ferry dry bulk commodities, rose 16 points, or 3.7%, to 450, registering its biggest one-day percentage gain since late November.

The capesize index gained for a second straight session, up 30 points at -257.

"Capesize is gradually gaining because there are other geographies besides China, like Australia is a big exporter, and the United states and Europe import from them," said Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at BIMCO.

However,"capesize won't come out of the negative zone until shipping activities become normal in and out of China."

The index had dropped to a record low of -294 points on Friday.

Shipping demand from China, the world's second-largest economy, has got a blow from the coronavirus outbreak that has forced authorities to shut factories and mills.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000 to 180,000 tonne cargoes including iron ore and coal, rose $147 to $2,638.

The panamax index rose 33 points, or 5%, to 690, its highest since Jan. 24.

"The uptick noted in demand figures in the Atlantic and ECSA (East Coast South America) helped owners to push for higher (panamax) rates," analysts at Allied Shipbroking said in a weekly note on Monday.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, increased $290 to $6,207.

The supramax index rose 7 points to 481. 

(Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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