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Baltic Dry Index Rises a Fourth Week on South American Grains

Rates to haul iron ore, coal and grains by sea rose for a fourth week as the South American harvest boosted demand for smaller ships.

The Baltic Dry Index gained 0.3 percent to 933, according to the Baltic Exchange, the London-based publisher of shipping costs. That capped a fourth weekly climb, the longest streak of gains since October, data show.

Panamaxes hauling 75,000-metric-ton cargoes are benefiting from South American grain shipments and crowded ports that tie up vessels for longer, according to RS Platou Markets AS, the investment-banking unit of Norway’s largest shipbroker. Rates are still historically low and hovering around break-even levels, Michael Webber, an analyst at Wells Fargo Securities LLC, said in an e-mailed report today.

“Panamax rates continued to be supported by the South American grain season, with charterers booking vessels from the Atlantic and the Far East,” Frode Moerkedal, an Oslo-based analyst at Platou, said in an e-mailed report today. “Reports of increasing port congestion in Brazil helped thin vessel supply.”

Rates for Panamaxes rose for a 33rd session, the longest streak since 2003, exchange data show. Daily earnings increased 0.5 percent to $9,661.

Gains extended across all vessel types except Capesizes, the largest. Two were chartered to carry iron ore to China, compared with as many as six earlier in the week, Sam Margolin, a New York-based analyst at Cowen Securities, said in an e-mailed report today. Rates fell 1.3 percent to $4,981 a day.

Daily earnings for Supramaxes rose 1 percent to $10,226 and Handysizes, the smallest ships tracked by the index, gained 0.6 percent to $8,036, according to the exchange.

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