Baltic Dry Index edging higher

CNS Canada — The Baltic Dry Index is edging back to levels not seen in over two months, and could be due for more strength, as seasonal trends often see the index rise during the summer and fall.

The BDI settled at 694 points on Wednesday, having gained over 100 points over the past two weeks. The index was last above 700 at the end of April.

The BDI was over 800 points at this point a year ago, and eventually topped out above 1,200 points in August 2015 before its steady slide to a record low of 290 points in February this year.

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The BDI is compiled daily by the London-based Baltic Exchange and provides an assessment of the price of moving major raw materials by sea, including grain.

An overcapacity of ships, the slowdown in Chinese demand for building materials, weakness in crude oil, and declining commodity prices all contributed to the lower freight rates over the past year, according to freight analysts.

However, rates were considered too low to be sustainable.

Lower freight rates even the playing field for Canadian grain and oilseed exporters into many markets.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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