Jan 15 (Reuters) – The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, rose on Wednesday, marking its first gain this year, driven by higher capesize rates.
* The overall index, which factors in the average daily earnings of capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize dry bulk transport vessels, rose 4 points or 0.29 percent to 1,374 points.
* The Baltic’s capesize index rose 30 points or 1.64 percent to 1,862 points after having fallen about 54 percent this year.
* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, were up $280 to $13,168. The increase in capesize rates has come after consecutive drops in all the last nine sessions this year.
* The panamax index slipped 8 points or 0.51 percent to 1,572 points.
* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry 60,000 to 70,000-tonne cargoes of coal or grains, were down $54 to $12,534 on Wednesday.
* Shipping association BIMCO said last week that it expects dry bulk demand to grow at 4.5 to 6 percent, driven forward by the major bulk trades of iron ore, steam coal and coking coal, with grain in a supporting role.
“China remains in the driving seat, a scenario that will benefit the larger ships more than the smaller ones,” BIMCO’s chief shipping analyst Peter Sand had said. (Reporting by Koustav Samanta in Bangalore, editing by William Hardy)
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