Baltic index falls on biggest capesize dip in over two years

Aug 18 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index .BADI fell on Thursday as capesize vessel rates saw their biggest daily plunge since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, in May 2020.

* The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, fell 74 points, or 5.3%, at 1,320 points, marking its worst day in two weeks.

* The capesize index .BACI shed 216 points, or about 20%, its worst decline since May 28, 2020, at 867 points.

* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, were down $1,790 at $7,188.

* Dalian iron ore tumbled to a three-week low, while prices of the steelmaking ingredient were volatile in Singapore, pressured by worries about weak steel demand and rising supply in China.

* The panamax index .BPNI , which has not seen a single day of gains since July 25, lost 56 points, or 3.1%, at 1,749 points.

* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, decreased $504 to $15,738.

* The world's second largest corn exporter Argentina's planting area for the upcoming 2022/2023 harvest is expected to shrink 2.6% from the previous cycle, due to falling profitability of the crop and low soil moisture, a top grains exchange reported on Wednesday.

* The supramax index .BSIS gained 39 points to 1,698 points, rising for the fifth consecutive session on its best day in over five months.
Reporting by Harshit Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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