Grain-Carrying Panamaxes Extend Gains on South American Cargoes

Rates for Panamax ships hauling cargoes from crops and coal rose the most in nearly six weeks as demand gained for grain and oilseeds from South America.

Rates for the largest ships to navigate the Panama Canal advanced 1.6 percent to $9,138 a day, according to the London-based Baltic Exchange. That’s the biggest one-day gain since March 7, data from the exchange show.

“The loading of East Coast South American grain cargoes for the first half of May provided market support,” Michael Webber, an analyst at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in New York, said in an e-mailed report today.

Argentina’s corn shipments are rising while Brazil is set to overtake the U.S. as the biggest soybean exporter this year, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Panamax rates climbed for five consecutive days, the longest winning streak since one that ended March 25, bourse data show.

Capesize vessels declined 1.2 percent to $4,553, the lowest level for the iron-ore carriers since April 10. The vessels are the largest tracked by the Baltic Dry Index, a wider measure of commodity transportation costs, which also gained for a fifth session, climbing 0.5 percent to 880.

Supramaxes, about 25 percent smaller than Panamaxes, advanced 1.3 percent to $9,799, exchange data showed. Returns for Handysize vessels, the smallest ships in the index, lost 0.5 percent, sliding to $7,899 a day.

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