The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of global seaborne trade, may drop as much as 40 per cent by mid-2009 as weak steel demand and falling grain shipments exacerbate a seasonal decline.
The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of global seaborne trade, may drop as much as 40 per cent by mid-2009 as weak steel demand and falling grain shipments exacerbate a seasonal decline, KGI Securities Co said. The index of commodity-shipping costs has shed 25 per cent in three consecutive weekly declines to 1,678 points on March 27, dragged down by falling demand for iron ore to make steel.
Production of the metal will stay 'sluggish' in the near term as carmakers and builders cut output, while companies need time to digest 'massive' inventories, Bangkok- based KGI analyst Sirima Dissara wrote in a report yesterday.
'Heading into the weak shipment season in mid-2009, bulk freight rate is expected to soften,' Ms Dissara said. 'The BDI is expected to drop to between 1,000 and 1,500 points.'
The index has declined in the second quarter in 17 of the past 24 years. Grain exports from the United States, the largest shipper of the foodstuff, decline in June to as low as 11 per cent of the annual average, and grain haulage does not tend to peak again until the August-October season, Ms Dissara said.
Shipments of coal used to generate power or to make steel are likely to 'stagnate', she wrote.
The Baltic index will average 1,786 points in the second quarter, according to the median of 10 estimates compiled by Bloomberg from March 16 to 19.