February 26, 2020 / 2:09 PM / in a month

Higher rates for smaller vessels push Baltic index up

Feb 26 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index rose for a ninth straight session on Wednesday, as strong demand for panamax and supramax vessels more than offset waning capesize demand.

* The Baltic index, which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels that ferry dry bulk commodities, rose 9 points, or 1.8%, to 517 points

* The capesize index fell 12 points to -290

* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000-180,000 tonne cargoes including iron ore and coal, declined by $117 to $2,358.

* "Seasonality, higher fuel costs, and coronavirus disruption behind poor start to new decade for dry bulk earnings," BIMCO Chief Shipping Analyst Peter Sand said in a note.

* "The fundamental balance will continue to deteriorate in 2020, offering little support to operators hoping to pass on higher fuels costs, caused by the sulphur cap, to shippers."

* The panamax index gained 29 points, or 3.5%, to 859 points and posted its 15th straight session of gains

* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000-70,000 tonnes, increased by $266 to $7,733

* The supramax index climbed 16 points to 577 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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