April 5 (Reuters) – The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry commodities, fell on Friday for a seventh straight day on limited activity in the panamax segment due to public holidays in Asia.
The overall index, which gauges the cost of shipping commodities such as iron ore, cement, grain, coal and fertilizer, was down 0.58 percent at 861 points, falling about 5 percent this week.
“Limited activity in the market during the latter half of the week as a consequence of holiday mode in Asia has kept freight rates level for most segments,” said analyst Erik Nikolai Stavseth of Arctic Securities.
The Baltic’s panamax index fell 12 points or 1.08 percent, with average daily earnings down $95 at $8,755.
Panamaxes usually transport 60,000 to 70,000-tonne cargoes of coal or grains.
“Panamaxes have lost some of the steam from grain loadings, and we note the FFA curve being in backwardation at present,” Stavseth said.
“Given the high fleet growth expected for Panamaxes this year the backwardation may be warranted.”
Average daily earnings for handysize were down $55 at $7,797 and supramax ships were down $33 at $9,533.
The Baltic’s capesize index, however, rose 0.5 percent to 1,215 points, with average daily earnings up $15 to $4,261.
Capesizes typically transport 150,000 tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal.
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.
Spot iron ore prices were steady with top importer China away for a public holiday, thinning market activity and dragging the raw material to its first weekly fall out of three. (Reporting by Shrutee Sarkar in Bangalore; editing by James Jukwey)
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