Baltic index marks worst day in 6 years on waning demand

Jan 2 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index on Thursday posted its biggest one-day percentage decline in six years, pressured by depressing demand for dry bulk vessel segments.

* On its first day of trading in the new year, the Baltic index , which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels that ferry dry bulk commodities, fell 114 points to 976 points, its lowest level since May 2019.

* The overall index declined about 10.5%, posting its biggest one-day percentage drop since January 2014.

* “Some of it represents the fact that it is the first quoting for almost a week now. We expect a bit more softness to come around and we see ... China as the main locomotive behind this,” said Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at BIMCO.

* “The market as such is not strong in a fundamental way,” Sand said, adding the underlying market weakness, seen in the last few months, has seeped into 2020.

* The dry bulk index fell about 61% since touching a multi-year high of 2,518 points in September 2019 and ended the year 14% lower.

* The capesize index fell 304 points to 1,646 - its lowest since May 31, 2019.

* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000-180,000 tonne cargoes including iron ore and coal, slumped $2361 to $11,976.

* The supramax index slipped 33 points to 685.

* The panamax index rates were not available. (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)