The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, hit a more than four-month low on Tuesday, as capesize rates dropped to their lowest since August last year.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize shipping vessels, lost 43 points, or 3.4 percent, to 1,221 points, the lowest since Sept. 5.

The capesize index fell 221 points, or 9.91 percent, to 2,010 points, its lowest level since Aug. 10 last year.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, declined $1,506 to $15,158.

The dry bulk demand could see downward pressure in the coming weeks due to the Chinese New Year, Jefferies analysts wrote in a note.

However, accelerating global economic growth combined with minimal new dry bulk shipyard deliveries should translate to better earnings in 2018, they added.

The panamax index eased by 11 points, or 0.82 percent, to 1,329 points. The index was down for the fifth straight session.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, eased $89 to $10,658.

Among smaller vessels, the supramax index climbed 2 points to end at 910 points, while the handysize index shed 2 points to 583 points.

Source: Hellenic Shippping News.