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Buoyant Rates Lift Baltic Index

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index surged to its highest since late January on Tuesday as forward-looking market sentiment lifted capesize rates, and smaller vessel segments continued to firm.

The Baltic dry index, which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels ferrying dry bulk commodities, gained 131 points, or 9.6%, to 1,495, a peak since Jan. 27.

The capesize index jumped 224 points, or 17.8%, to 1,485 – its strongest since Feb. 5.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, were up $1,857 to $12,314.

It is the FFA (Forward Freight Agreement) sentiment that is pushing up the capesize index, which could be coming from hopes of further vaccine rollouts boosting demand,” said Rebecca Galanopoulos Jones, head of research at Alibra Shipping.

As per the Baltic Exchange, Forward Freight Agreements are commodity derivatives which derive from the underlying physical shipping markets. They provide a mechanism for companies to take on price risk through an exposure to global trade and are an important element of the shipping markets.

The panamax index advanced 175 points, or 8.8%, at 2,172, its highest level since Sept. 9, 2019. The index was up for the ninth session in a row.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, added $1,573 to $19,549.

The supramax index rose 30 points to 1,262, its highest level since end-September, 2019.

(Reporting by Bharat Govind Gautam in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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