Feb 14 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry commodities, fell 3 points on Thursday as capesize activity remained muted.
The main index, which gauges the cost of shipping commodities such as iron ore, cement, grain, coal and fertiliser, fell 0.4 percent to 748 points.
The capesize market remained mostly quiet in both the Atlantic and Pacific basins on Wednesday, ICAP said in a report.
The Baltic's capesize index fell 1.31 percent to 1,429 points. Daily earnings for the vessels, which typically transport 150,000 tonne cargoes, such as iron ore and coal, were down $328 to $6,802.
'The Chinese New Year holiday is, as expected, resulting in inactive markets in the Far East, but also in the Atlantic,' shipbroker Fearnleys said in a report.
Ship owners are patiently awaiting more cargoes to appear, Fearnleys said.
The Baltic's panamax index, meanwhile, rose 3.32 percent to 808 points. Average daily earnings for the vessels, which usually transport coal or grain cargoes of 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, rose $205 to $6,431.
For panamaxes, Wednesday was a busier day as some Far East offices began to come back online following the Lunar New Year break, ICAP said.
'This led to an increase in discussions and the emergence of a few fresh cargoes including some new Indo coal stems.'
The sentiment in Atlantic was strongly positive and there was a flurry of fixtures during the day, ICAP added.
(Reporting by NR Sethuraman in Bangalore; editing by Jane Baird) Keywords: BALTIC/
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