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Freight

Weak demand across vessels drags Baltic index to worst month in over 2 years

Aug 31 (Reuters) – The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships ferrying dry bulk commodities, fell on Wednesday and registered its biggest monthly decline in more than two years on waning demand across vessels, led by capesizes.

* The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax shipping vessels, fell 52 points, or 5.1%, to 965 points, a more than two-year low.

* The index shed nearly 50% in August, a third straight monthly decline and its worst performance since January 2020.

* The capesize index lost 35 points, or 10.4%, at 302 points, also an over two-year low. The capesize index lost about 86% this month, its worst since May 2020.

* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, dropped $288 to $2,505.

* Analysts have blamed slowing steel demand, especially from China, for the decline in capesize demand.

* Dalian iron ore fell, marking their third straight monthly drop, after a survey showing a contraction in China’s factory activity raised doubts about an economic rebound in the world’s top steel producer and consumer.

* The panamax index, which has not seen a single day of gains since over a month, slipped 67 points, or 5.2%, to 1,217 points, a 21-month low.

* The index marked its fifth straight monthly dip, and with an about 41% fall, its worst monthly loss since January 2020.

* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, decreased $600 to $10,956.

* The supramax index fell 65 points to 1,626 points, on its worst day in about 10 months. (Reporting by Harshit Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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