Baltic index scales near 3-month peak on strong demand across vessels

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March 9 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's dry bulk sea freight index (.BADI) hit its highest in nearly three months on Wednesday, helped by a jump in rates across its vessel segments.

* The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize shipping vessels, rose 206 points to 2,558 points, its highest since Dec. 15.

* The capesize index (.BACI) gained 386 points, or 20.4% to 2,282 points, its highest since Jan. 11.

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* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, increased $3,207 to $18,928.

* "We saw an injection of coal cargo from Indonesia" as most of the support came from the Pacific market, said Yannis Parganas, director at Intermodal Research.

* Indonesian coal miners are holding talks with buyers seeking alternatives to Russian coal.

* Operations from Black Sea were rescheduled as they couldn't proceed to load ports near Ukraine and Russia, Parganas said, adding "the overall fundamentals (for the dry bulk market) remain strong."

* Meanwhile, Chinese stainless steel futures dropped after opening more than 7% higher, as investors assessed the uncertainties caused by surging prices of raw material nickel.

* The panamax index (.BPNI) was up 153 points at 3,194 points.

* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, increased $1,377 to $28,744.

* The supramax index (.BSIS) rose 112 points, its highest in more than four months, to 2,845 points.

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Reporting by Rahul Paswan in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri

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