August 1, 2012 / 4:14 PM / 5 years ago

Baltic index stays pressured on low demand

Aug 1 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight
index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry
commodities, fell for a seventeenth straight session on
Wednesday due to limited shipping activity on sluggish raw
material demand.
    The overall index, which reflects daily freight market
prices for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize dry bulk
transport vessels, lost 19 points or 2.12 percent to 878 points.
The index has fallen about 49 percent this year.
    "The Index is being pulled down by a mixture of sluggish raw
material demand, a continued oversupply of ships, the Olympic
games and the holiday season," Andy Jamison shipping blogger and
owner of the Virtual Shipbroker said.
    The capesize index was down 1.09 percent at 1,181
    Average daily earnings for capesizes, which usually
transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, were
down $192 at $4,358. 
    Capes are down due to a very limited new enquiry out of
Australia and Brazil, Jamison said.
    "It may seem that players' focus is presently more on London
(Olympics) 2012 than minerals trading, and the absence of fresh
enquiry is adding further downward momentum in a segment already
under severe pressure," broker firm Fearnleys said in its weekly
    Chinese steel futures fell nearly 2 percent on Wednesday,
snapping six consecutive sessions of gains, as
weaker-than-expected Chinese official manufacturing data dented
market confidence and rekindled worries about sagging demand.
    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.
    The Baltic Exchange's panamax index fell 2.85
percent to 954 points, with average daily earnings for
panamaxes, which typically transport 60,000-70,000 tonne cargoes
of coal or grains, down $225 at $7,612.
    "The coal market is in free fall and producers have even
started closing high cost mines, which was unthinkable six
months ago," Jamison of Virtual Shipbroker said.
    He noted that the poor demand in the U.S and high
inventories in China coupled with higher supply have led to a
fall in coal prices.
    "Most coal suppliers are still trying to sort out previous
positions rather than even looking at new sales," he said.

 (Reporting by NR Sethuraman in Bangalore; Editing by Alison
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