bhp billiton port hedland western australia bulk carrier

Western Australia Iron Ore is one of the world’s premier suppliers of iron ore. Image (c) BHP Billiton

Rates to ship iron ore rose the most in almost eight weeks on speculation China’s steel industry is stockpiling the commodity before domestic mines shut down for the coldest months, according to Fearnley Securities AS.

Daily earnings for Capesizes hauling 160,000 metric tons climbed 5.5 percent to $5,249, the highest since Dec. 18, figures from the Baltic Exchange, the London-based publisher of freight rates, showed today. The gain was the biggest since Nov. 12 and helped the Baltic Dry Index, a broader gauge of raw- materials shipping costs, to add 0.9 percent to 706.

Steelmakers in China, the world’s biggest producer, are restocking ore before domestic output stalls in the coldest time of year and stormy seasons may affect suppliers in Australia and Brazil, Rikard Vabo, an Oslo-based analyst at Fearnley, said in an e-mailed report today. Ore with 62 percent iron content at the port of Tianjin jumped 33 percent since the end of November, according to The Steel Index Ltd.

“Brokers report a touch more optimistic atmosphere in the Capesize market,” Vabo said in the report. “Despite still very quiet out of Brazil, there is higher activity from Australia.”

Daily charter rates for the three other types of ships tracked by the index each changed less than 1 percent. Panamaxes fell 0.9 percent to $5,300, holding at the lowest since Oct. 8, exchange data showed. Supramaxes rose 0.1 percent to $7,728 and Handysizes slipped 0.1 percent to $6,619, according to the exchange.

- Isaac Arnsdorf, Copyright 2013 Bloomberg.

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