13:51 EDT, 24 September - Stronger steel prices in China, leading to higher iron-ore import levels, has gotten dry-bulk shipping prices off the mat the past week. The Baltic Dry Index, seen by some as a read on demand for commodities likes grains and metals, surged 17% last week after falling more than 40% the prior 2 months, in part on sliding Chinese steel demand. Rising rates for capesize-type ships led last week’s BDI rebound. Dahlman Rose notes from Tuesday-Thursday, 21 China-bound capesize bookings for iron ore were made; the year’s weekly average has been 10. The demand, stoked by seaborne prices being notably below Chinese domestic levels, has helped daily capesize rates hit $7,600 today, double the week earlier’s figure and back above ships’ operating costs.
- Kevin Kingsbury, © 2012 Dow Jones & Company