July 16, 2012 / 3:18 PM / 5 years ago

Baltic index down on lower capesize rates

July 16 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight
index, used to track rates for ships carrying dry
commodities, fell for the fifth straight session on Monday,
driven mainly by weaker capesize rates.
    The main index, which factors in the average daily earnings
of capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize dry bulk transport
vessels, plunged 8 points or 0.72 percent to 1,102 points.
    Growing ship supply, which is outpacing commodity demand, is
set to cap dry bulk freight rate gains in the coming months,
analysts said.
    "The dry bulk shipping market is likely to remain
challenging over the next 12 months given the significant number
of new projected dry bulk carrier shipyard deliveries,"
Jefferies analyst Douglas Mavrinac said in a note.
    The overall index, which gauges the cost of shipping
commodities such as iron ore, cement, grain, coal and fertiliser
is down about 37 percent this year.
    The capesize index dipped 0.76 percent to 1,310
points, as the weakness in steel prices in top consumer China
curbed demand for spot iron ore cargoes.
    Iron ore shipments account for around a third of seaborne
volumes on the larger capesizes, and brokers said price
developments remained a key factor for dry freight.
    Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically
transport 150,000 tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, fell
$167 to $5,903.
    The average daily earnings for handysize and supramax ships
were down at $9,939 and $13,353, respectively.
    The Baltic's panamax index gained 0.58 percent.
Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually transport
60,000-70,000 tonne cargoes of coal or grains, reached $9,640.

 (Reporting by Soma Das in Bangalore; Editing by Anthony Barker)

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