November 23, 2018 / 2:32 PM / 18 days ago

Baltic index marks biggest gain in 2 years

Nov 23 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships ferrying dry bulk commodities, notched its biggest gain in about two years on Friday, propelled by robust demand for capesize vessels.

* The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, rose 75 points, or 7.4 percent, to 1,093 points - its biggest one day percentage gain since Nov. 17, 2016.

* Index marks its first weekly gain in last six weeks.

* The capesize index surged 24.7 percent, or 269 points, to 1,358 points - its biggest one day percentage gain since April 1, 2016.

* "The rebound in capesize segment may be more related to sentiment and a drop in confidence that apparently went too low," said Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at industry lobby group BIMCO.

* "Expect capesize rates to remain quite volatile in the coming months," Sand said.

* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000-180,000 tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, increased by $1,902 to $10,853.

* "The capesize index has fallen below the Supramax and Panamax indices which always marks a bottom with a subsequent rebound," ship broker Fearnleys said in a weekly report on Wednesday.

* The panamax index declined for the eighth straight session, losing 2 points to 1,376 points.

* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, decreased by $22 to $10,996.

* The supramax index eased 4 points to 952 points. (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru)

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