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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Baltic Dry Index Rises to Highest in Almost a Month on Grains

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Tuesday, 21 April 2009
The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of world trade, rose to the highest in almost a month on demand to transport iron ore to China and South American grains. The index of commodity-shipping costs advanced 55 points, or 3.3 percent, to 1,737 points, according to the Baltic Exchange today. That’s the highest since March 25. Rents for panamax ships that haul grains jumped 3.7 percent to $12,955 a day, building on last week’s 36 percent gain. Bigger capesizes that transport iron ore climbed 4.4 percent to $20,772.
“Grain is a big driver of the market,” Steve Rodley, a London-based director of shipping hedge fund manager M2M Management Ltd., said by phone today. Some ships are sailing from Southeast Asia to collect the grain cargoes and iron ore is still shipping to China, even as stocks there grow, he added.
Grain shipments may only slow from the end of April onwards before the August to October season starts, according to Sirima Dissara, an analyst with KGI Securities Co. in Bangkok. Argentina will sell 50,000 metric tons of yellow corn and 20,000 tons of meat to Venezuela, the Argentine foreign ministry said today. Iron ore inventories in China, the biggest buyer of the material used to make steel, have grown 16 percent since the end of February.
China’s government has committed 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) in spending to support the economy that expanded at the slowest pace in almost a decade in the first three months of this year. That may boost demand for steel production for infrastructure projects. China is the biggest steelmaker and globally the industry accounts for almost half of all seaborne bulk cargoes, according to Amrita Sen, an analyst with Barclays Capital in London.
Capesize forward freight agreements for the third quarter, used to bet on future shipping rates, were 0.2 percent higher at $22,125 a day as of 4:31 p.m. in Oslo. Panamax FFAs for the same period fell 0.2 percent to $13,375 a day. The data are from broker Imarex NOS ASA.

Source: Bloomberg