Baltic index slips further, hits new record low

Feb 10 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, extended its record decline for the 12th straight session on Wednesday due to concerns about demand.

The Baltic dry index is down about 98 percent from its peak of 11,793 points in May 2008, marking the lowest level since the records began in 1985.

The overall index, which gauges the cost of shipping resources including iron ore, cement, grain, coal and fertiliser, fell by 1 point to 290 points.

The dry bulk market is expected to remain under pressure for longer because of weak demand for commodities, particularly from top global importer China.

The capesize index was up 1 point at 208 points.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, rose $5 to $2,776.

The panamax index was up 4 points, or 1.35 percent, at 301 points. Average daily earnings for panamaxes were up by $32 at $2,417.

The supramax index was down 3 points at 247 points, while the handysize index slipped 2 points to 186 points. (Reporting by Kevin Jose in Bengaluru, editing by Louise Heavens)