March 19, 2020 / 3:19 PM / 22 days ago

Baltic index inches higher on rising capesize demand

March 19 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index inched up on Thursday, as stronger demand for capesize vessels offset a fall in panamax and supramax vessel rates.

* The Baltic index, which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels that ferry dry bulk commodities, was up by a point, or 0.2%, at 630.

* The capesize index rose for the fifth straight session, gaining 38 points to -166.

* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000 tonnes-180,000 tonnes cargoes including iron ore and coal, increased by $336 to $3,843.

* "To make up for the widespread quarantines of large parts of China in February, it is expected that China will roll out fiscal stimulus to support economic growth, which could prompt somewhat of a capesize recovery," BIMCO chief shipping analyst Peter Sand said in a note.

* Hopes that strict containment efforts to stop the spread of the virus are working were boosted by reports of no new domestic transmissions of the coronavirus within China and the epicentre of the outbreak Wuhan for the first time.

* The panamax index dropped 36 points, or 4.1%, to 850, falling for its ninth successive session.

* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes-70,000 tonnes, declined by $323 to $7,652.

* The supramax index dipped 7 points to 748. (Reporting by Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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