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Baltic index drops to 3-week low, ends quarter higher

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The Baltic Exchange’s dry bulk sea freight index fell to its lowest level in over three weeks on Thursday, dragged by sliding panamax and supramax vessel rates, although the main index posted monthly and quarterly gains.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, dipped 11 points, or about 0.5%, to 2,358 points, its lowest since March 8.

The main index has gained about 6.4% this quarter and 15.6% in March, its second monthly gain this year.

The panamax index dipped 95 points, or 2.9%, to 3,141 points. The index added about 22.1% this quarter, after posting declines in the last two. For the month, it was up more than 20%.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, fell by $850 to $28,273.

Dalian iron ore rose boosting a quarterly gain that was the biggest since end-2020, while the Singapore benchmark hovered around the $160 mark, as traders anticipated additional policy support to shore up China’s economy.

The capesize index gained 114 points, or 6.9%, to 1,760, but posted its second straight quarterly decline at 23.9% and an 8.8% monthly decline.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, increased $938 at $14,593.

The supramax index dropped 67 points to 2,808 points and increased about 22.6% for the first quarter of the year.

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