Baltic index inches higher on firm capesize demand

Jan 6 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's dry bulk sea freight index edged higher on Thursday, buoyed by an uptick in capesize and panamax vessel rates.

* The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels, gained 7 points to 2,296.

* The capesize index rose 55 points, or 2.4%, to 2,356.

* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, rose by $451 to $19,535.

* Iron ore futures rose on Thursday, on expectations of a recovery in Chinese demand for the steelmaking raw material and steel products after the Beijing 2022 Olympics next month.

* The panamax index edged 10 points higher to 3,013.

* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which ferry 60,000-70,000 tonne coal or grain cargoes, rose by $94 to $27,117.

* "This week started with uncertainty for the Indonesian coal export after the government put a ban during the weekend," shipbroker Fearnleys said in a weekly note dated Wednesday.

* "Though most of the drama has calmed down, both charterers and owners for this trade have avoided new business before the situation is clearer."

* Major Indonesian coal miners have sought exemptions from a coal export ban put in place at the start of the year as the costs of having scores of ships stranded offshore continue to mount.

* The supramax index slipped 41 points to its lowest level since April 2021 at 2,124. (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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