Baltic index reverses course, gains for first time in 22 sessions

Jan 10 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index reversed course to inch up on Friday after 21 straight session of declines, helped by higher earnings for capesize vessels.

* The Baltic index, which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels that ferry dry bulk commodities, increased 2 points, or 0.3%, to 774 points.

* The Baltic index started falling on Dec. 4, and continued its slide for 20 more consecutive sessions. On Friday, the index was still at its lowest since April 17.

* There has been a dramatic decline in the Baltic index because of a fall in all segments on seasonality, IMO 2020 regulations, and higher bunker costs, according to Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at BIMCO.

* The capesize index fell 89 points, or 7.7%, to 1,066 - its lowest since April 29.

* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000-180,000 tonne cargoes including iron ore and coal, increased $239 to $9,438.

* The panamax index declined 14 points, or 1.8%, to 771 points, its lowest since Feb. 27.

* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, dipped $124 to $6,939.

* The supramax index fell 11 points to 570. (Reporting by Harshith Aranya and Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)