The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of shipping costs for commodities including iron ore, fell to a record low as China leads a global slump in demand growth for the industry’s single biggest source of cargoes.
The gauge fell 2.9 percent to 504 points, the lowest since the measure was first published in 1985. Day rates Capesize vessels, so called because they can’t get through the Panama Canal’s locks, slumped 7.2 percent to $4,015.
A surge in China’s imports of iron ore will slow to just 1 percent in 2016, about half this year’s expansion and the weakest pace in six years, according to data from Clarkson Plc, the world’s biggest shipbroker. Global trade in the raw material will increase the most slowly since 2001. China’s economy will grow by 6.5 percent in 2016, the least in a generation.
“The main issue is the lack of demand for iron ore from China,” Eirik Haavaldsen, an analyst at Pareto Securities AS in Oslo, said by phone. “This market is looking like a disaster and the rates are a reflection of that. It is looking scary for the market and it doesn’t look like there is going to be any life in the market in the near term.”
All of the five ship types tracked by the Baltic Exchange retreated. Panamaxes, the biggest to go through the Panama Canal, fell 1.9 percent to $3,737 a day.
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