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Baltic Dry Index dips below 500 points for first time

Today’s Baltic Dry Index is 498 points, dipping below 500 points for the first time in its history.

The index fell six points on yesterday, when the index reached another historic low of 504 points.

The capesize market continues to be a cause for concern: the Baltic Cape Index lost 13 points to reach 606 points today. Cape TCA spot rates similarly lost $69 and were today assessed at $5,211 per day.

Capesize chartering activity has remained relatively active all week, but commodity prices are at rock bottom and demand remains depressed from key importer China.

Nevertheless, the lowest rates seen for spot fixtures on the Western Australia-China run are today reported to be a few cents above the lows seen on Thursday – not that this is much cause for optimism.

Today, BHP Billiton is reported to have fixed a 170,000-tonne iron ore cargo onboard Global Marine Services’ cape Hyundai Talent (180,000 dwt, built 2012) for $4.05 per tonne between Port Hedland and Qingdao (laycan Dec 4-8). This is just a touch above the low of $4.00 per tonne seen on Thursday, when Rio Tinto fixed Pan Ocean’s Pan Dream (175,000 dwt, built 2011) for 170,000 tonnes of ore for a voyage from Dampier to Qingdao (laycan Dec 6-10). 

Reports show that iron ore prices are nearing a multi-year low, and analysts predict that iron ore for immediate delivery to China’s Tianjin port could soon dip below $40 per tonne.

Previous to the lows seen in 2015, historical Baltic Exchange data shows the BDI touched a record low of 554 points on four previous occasions on July 31, 1986, and August 4-6, 1986, back when it was known as the Baltic Freight Index.

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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