Baltic index dips on subdued demand for capesize vessels

Jan 17 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index fell on Friday, as a fall in capesize vessel rates on weak demand outweighed gains in the other vessel segments.

* The Baltic index, which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels ferrying dry bulk commodities, dropped 14 points, or 1.8%, to 754.

* The index lost 0.5% this week, the sixth straight weekly loss.

* The capesize index dropped 72 points, or 9.2%, to 712 - its lowest since late-April.

* The index registered its 26th straight session of losses and declined 26% this week.

* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000-180,000 tonne cargoes including iron ore and coal, fell $449 to $8,352.

* Brazilian miner Vale halted operations at its Esperança mine, which has a capacity to process nearly 1.2 million tonnes of iron ore per year, for technical evaluation and carry out work to improve safety at the site.

* Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto reported a 3% slump in iron ore shipments in 2019 due to a cyclone and a fire at a port facility which disrupted operations.

* The panamax index gained 11 points, or 1.3%, to 870.

* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, increased $103 to $7,830.

* The supramax index inched up by a point to 560 points. (Reporting by Anjishnu Mondal in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)