Baltic Index Slips as Capesize, Panamax Demand Wanes
The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, dipped 2 percent on Thursday, weighed down by weaker demand for capesize and panamax vessel segments.
The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, fell 30 points, or 2 percent, to 1,516 points.
The capesize index snapped five straight sessions of gains and fell 35 points, or 1.5 percent, to 2,353 points. Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000-180,000 tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, decreased $363 to $18,662.
The panamax index lost 47 points, or 2.8 percent, to end at 1,622 points, its lowest since Sept. 24. Average daily earnings for panamax, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, decreased $379 to $12,993.
"We are now at the transition phase where Brazilian (soybean) exports are winding down and U.S. exports should increase," said Frode Mørkedal, Managing Director of equity research at Clarksons Platou.However, Chinese imports of U.S. soybeans have declined due to Sino-U.S. trade tariffs, resulting in decreased demand for panamax, he added.
The supramax index fell 12 points to 1,132 points. Dry-bulk rates climbed to multi-year highs earlier this year but have plunged since then as the U.S.-China trade war has picked up pace.
Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri and K. Sathya Narayanan