China and vessel glut drive Baltic index to fresh low

Reuters — The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying industrial commodities, slid to a fifth consecutive record low on Monday on economic worries about China and a surplus of vessels.

The overall index, gauging the cost of shipping dry bulk cargoes including grain, iron ore, cement, coal and fertilizers, fell 3.26 per cent to 415 points.

The index has fallen by more than 13 per cent in 2016.

A downturn in dry bulk shipping has worsened significantly in recent months as demand for iron ore and coal has declined in the response to slower economic growth in China.

World stocks fell to near 2-1/2 year lows on Monday as a fresh pounding for Chinese markets left Asia at a four-year low and hit oil and commodity markets.

The capesize index was down 29 points at 314 points, and neared its all time low of 311 points in January last year.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, that typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, fell $224 to $3,594 (all figures US$).

Iron ore futures in China slid nearly three per cent to a two-week low, under pressure from expectations of further output cuts by steel producers reeling from weak demand and tighter environmental controls.

The panamax index fell 14 points, to 420.

Average daily earnings for panamax vessels, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, decreased by $105 to $3,361.

Reporting for Reuters by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bangalore.

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