Aug 1 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index fell for an eighth straight session on Thursday, as increased vessel supply and easing demand for shipping iron ore dragged down capesize rates, while soft South American orders hurt panamaxes.
* The Baltic index, which tracks rates for ships ferrying dry bulk commodities, fell 3%, or 56 points, to 1,812 points.
* The index has still more than tripled since February, mainly driven by strong demand for vessels that ship iron ore from Brazil into China over the past few months.
* The capesize index fell 123 points, or 3.4%, to 3,534 points.
* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000 tonne-180,000 tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, fell $885 to $26,067.
* “The fleet has repositioned in a more balanced way with the Atlantic basin filling up ... The amount of vessels heading to the Atlantic has resulted in a more cautious outlook amongst market players,” shipbroker Fearnleys said in a note.
* “However, cargo volumes remain at healthy levels so it is hard to believe in a dramatic market fall the next weeks.”
* The panamax index fell 73 points, or 3.9%, to 1,818 points. The index was down for the seventh straight session.
* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, decreased $582 to $14,547.
* “The market has taken a breather in both basins, and the summer-boom has taken a rapid turn to the red,” Fearnleys said.
* “However, the sentiment in the market is still positive for the longer term, and many expect rates to continue the increase or at least stabilize going forward.”
* The supramax index fell 8 points to 974 points. (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)