July 17 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index rose on Wednesday, driven by demand for capesize and panamax vessels.
* The Baltic index, which tracks rates for ships ferrying dry bulk commodities, rose 2.6%, or 53 points, to 2,064, its highest since January 2014. The index has surged about 60% this year.
* The index extended gains for a seventh straight session, mainly driven by strong demand for vessels that ship iron ore from Brazil.
* A restart of Vale SA’s Brucutu mine in Brazil that was shut in early February after a tailings dam burst, has prompted increased demand from the country.
* The capesize index rose 127 points, or 3.2%, to 4,095 points, its highest since December 2017.
* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000 tonne-180,000 tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, rose $916 to $31,073.
* Iron ore shipments to China from Australia’s Port Hedland terminal rose more than 11% in June from a month earlier, port data released on Wednesday showed.
* The panamax index rose 33 points, or 1.6%, to 2,085 points, its highest since December 2013.
* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, rose $265 to $16,661.
* Tight spot market for capesize vessels has driven iron ore shippers to book panamax vessels, driving rates higher, analysts said.
* The supramax index edged 23 points higher to 928 points. (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)