February 28, 2020 / 1:57 PM / a month ago

Baltic index posts first monthly gain in six amid virus woes

Feb 28 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index inched up on Friday, registering its first monthly gain in six, as higher rates for panamax and supramax vessels more than offset weaker capesize rates.

* The Baltic index, which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels that ferry dry bulk commodities, edged up 6 points, or 1.1%, to 535, its highest since Jan. 28.

* The index has gained more than 8% this month after January turned out to be its worst month in eight years as coronavirus outbreak weighed on shipping demand from China.

* The capesize index dropped further by 28 points to -328, its lowest on record.

* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000-180,000 tonne cargoes including iron ore and coal, declined by $93 to $2,274.

* Iron ore futures in China marked their first monthly drop since October, as the fast-spreading coronavirus fuelled fears of a global recession, darkening the demand outlook for the steelmaking raw material.

* The panamax index rose 19 points, or 2.1%, to 905

* The index posted its biggest monthly percentage gain since Nov. 2016.

* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000-70,000 tonnes, increased by $175 to $8,147

* The supramax index gained 16 points to 606 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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