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Ore Ships Gain Most in a Month as China Buys Australian Supplies

Rates to carry iron ore on the biggest ships climbed the most in a month as China, the largest importer, bought cargoes of the commodity used to make steel from Australia.

Daily earnings for Capesizes hauling 160,000 metric tons rose 2.6 percent, the most since March 12, to $4,701, according to the Baltic Exchange, the London-based published of shipping costs. The weekly increase of 10 percent was the biggest since January. Today’s gain led the Baltic Dry Index, a broader gauge of commodities freight rates, up 1.2 percent to 875.

Futures for steel reinforcement bars used in construction gained this week for the first time in three weeks amid a seasonal increase in Chinese demand. Imported iron ore at the port of Tianjin rose for a fifth day to $141 a dry ton, according to The Steel Index Ltd. Stockpiles at the country’s ports fell 6.9 percent this year to 67.96 million tons, within 3 percent of an almost four-year low, according to Beijing Antaike Information Development Co.

“Higher steel prices and modest iron-ore inventories in China have supported iron-ore buying from Australia this week,” Frode Moerkedal, an Oslo-based analyst at RS Platou Markets AS, the investment-banking unit of Norway’s largest shipbroker, said in an e-mailed report today.

Gains extended across the three smaller ship types tracked by the index. Rates for Panamaxes carrying about half as much cargo as Capesizes rose 1.6 percent to $8,892 a day, according to the exchange. The vessels are benefiting from South American exports of grains and soybeans, Moerkedal said.

Supramaxes were little changed at $9,426 a day, and Handysizes, the smallest vessels in the index, gained 1 percent to $7,823.

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