January 16, 2018 / 3:52 PM / a year ago

Baltic index drops to more than 4-month low as capesize rates dip

Jan 16 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, hit a more than four-month low on Tuesday, as capesize rates dropped to their lowest since August last year.

* The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize shipping vessels, lost 43 points, or 3.4 percent, to 1,221 points, the lowest since Sept. 5.

* The capesize index fell 221 points, or 9.91 percent, to 2,010 points, its lowest level since Aug. 10 last year.

* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, declined $1,506 to $15,158.

* The dry bulk demand could see downward pressure in the coming weeks due to the Chinese New Year, Jefferies analysts wrote in a note.

* However, accelerating global economic growth combined with minimal new dry bulk shipyard deliveries should translate to better earnings in 2018, they added.

* The panamax index eased by 11 points, or 0.82 percent, to 1,329 points. The index was down for the fifth straight session.

* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, eased $89 to $10,658.

* Among smaller vessels, the supramax index climbed 2 points to end at 910 points, while the handysize index shed 2 points to 583 points. (Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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