Largest Commodity Carriers Drop for Fifth Day on Iron Ore Prices

The largest commodity carriers fell for a fifth day as prices for iron ore, their main cargo, declined on weaker demand in China, the biggest importer.

Daily earnings for Capesizes, the largest ships hauling the steelmaking ingredient, decreased 4.6 percent to $3,590, according to the Baltic Exchange, the London-based publisher of freight rates. The Baltic Dry Index, a broader gauge of raw-materials shipping costs, fell 1.8 percent to 750, the lowest since Feb. 29.

Iron ore prices are falling on sluggish demand, according to Arctic Securities ASA. Imported iron ore with 62 percent content at the port of Tianjin dropped 35 percent this month to $113 a metric ton, within 10 cents of the lowest level since December 2009, according to the Steel Index Ltd.

“There is still downside to Chinese iron ore prices driven by lower demand,” Erik Nikolai Stavseth, an analyst at Oslo-based Arctic, said in an e-mailed note today. “We thus maintain a cautious view on freight rates.”

The losses extended across the smaller vessels tracked by the index. Panamaxes, which carry about half as much as Capesizes, fell 0.2 percent to $6,395 a day, according to the exchange. Daily income for Supramaxes fell 1.4 percent to $9,046, and Handysizes declined 2.2 percent to $7,416, according to the exchange.

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