March 11, 2020 / 2:39 PM / 20 days ago

Baltic index hits 1-1/2-month high on firmer capesize, supramax rates

March 11 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index on Wednesday hit its highest in more than a month, lifted by an uptick in rates for capesize and supramax vessels.

* The Baltic index, which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels that ferry dry bulk commodities, rose 4 points, or 0.6%, to 631 - its highest since Jan. 21.

* The capesize index fell 3 points to -350.

* However, average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000 tonne-180,000-tonne cargoes including iron ore and coal, rose by $18 to $2,570.

* “The high fleet growth will offset any potential demand growth, and at the very least, the IMO 2020 regulation will adversely impact dry bulk profitability through the first half of the year,” BIMCO chief shipping analyst Peter Sand said in a note.

* “The coronavirus has simply worsened the negative market outlook,” Sand noted.

* The panamax index dropped 7 points, or 0.7%, to 1,057.

* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes-70,000 tonnes, declined $62 to $9,511.

* The supramax index rose 13 points to 735. (Reporting by Anjishnu Mondal in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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