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Capesize Rates Slump to All-Time Low

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January 30, 2020

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reuters logo By Anjishnu Mondal Jan 30 (Reuters) – The capesize component of the Baltic sea freight index plunged to an all-time low on Thursday, hurt by high fuel costs owed to new shipping regulations and a seasonal slowdown worsened by a coronavirus outbreak.

* The Baltic index, which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels to ferry dry bulk commodities, fell 27 points, or 5.1%, to 498 — its lowest level in over 3 years.

* The capesize index dropped 92 points, or 98.9%, to a record low of 1 point, extending its losing streak to a 35th straight session.

* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000-180,000 tonne cargoes including iron ore and coal, dropped $406 to $4,081.

* The International Maritime Organization rules have capped the sulphur content of ship fuel at 0.5% from the start of 2020 unless vessels are equipped with exhaust-cleaning systems known as scrubbers.

* “Ships with a scrubber are capable of running an almost profitable freight rate, but since the Baltic considers only ships without a scrubber, high fuel costs are really bringing down index readings and time charter equivalent earnings,” said Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at BIMCO.

* As the usual pick up in activity after the Chinese new year has been postponed given a coronavirus outbreak, the slump is likely to continue for a few weeks, Sand added.

* Foreign evacuees from the Chinese city of Wuhan entered quarantine on Thursday, as deaths from a fast-spreading virus rose to 170 and markets weighed the impact of an inevitable big hit to the world’s No. 2 economy.

* The panamax index declined 32 points, or 5.1%, to 595, registering its 9th straight session of losses.

* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, fell $297 to $5,351.

* The supramax index shed 5 points to 528. (Reporting by Anjishnu Mondal in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Arpan Varghese; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

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