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Baltic index gains for sixth week on stronger vessel rates

May 20 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index rose on Friday to gain for a sixth consecutive week on stronger vessel rates across segments.

* The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize shipping vessels, gained 55 points, or 1.7%, to 3,344 points. It rose 7.7% for the week.

* The capesize index rose 141 points, or 3.2%, to 4,526 points. The index rose for a sixth straight week, up 14.7%.

* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, were up $1,170 at $37,538.

* Benchmark iron ore futures in Dalian and Singapore surged on Friday, adding to weekly gains as China cut its benchmark reference rate for mortgages by an unexpectedly wide margin, boosting hopes for further support to revive the economy.

* The panamax index was up 12 points, or 0.4%, at 3,382 points. The segment rose for a third consecutive week, gaining 3%.

* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, increased $114 to $30,440.

* Jordan's state grains buyer has issued a new international tender to purchase 120,000 tonnes of animal feed barley, European traders said on Friday.

* The supramax index rose 16 points to 2,816 points, and gained 2.3% this week. (Reporting by Roshan Abraham in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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