Feb 13 (Reuters) – The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index remained flat on Thursday, as higher rates for panamax vessels offset weaker rates for other vessel categories.
* The Baltic index, which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels that ferry dry bulk commodities, was unchanged at 421.
* The main index slid to a near 4-year low of 411 earlier this week.
* The capesize index fell 25 points to negative 284.
* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000-180,000 tonne cargoes including iron ore and coal, fell $181 to $2,532.
* “The (capesize) market is still sliding with few signs of an imminent turnaround. Preliminary indicators of China’s coal consumption, steel production and iron ore imports show a complete collapse (during) the last few weeks,” ship broker Fearnleys said in a note on Wednesday.
* Iron ore spot prices rallied after Brazil’s Vale on Tuesday revised down its iron ore production forecast for Q1 2020 to 63-68 million tonnes, from 68-73 million tonnes, due to recent heavy rains.
* The panamax index rose 30 points, or 5.2%, to 612.
* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, increased $272 to $5,506.
* The supramax index fell 4 points to 468.
* It was another horrifying week for supramax owners, with many in Asia refusing to take a negative cost, Fearnleys noted, adding “oversupply of tonnage in Atlantic and poor cargo supply pushed the market further down”. (Reporting by Anjishnu Mondal in Bengaluru)