The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, rose to over one-year high on Friday as rates for capesize vessels surged on higher iron-ore demand.

The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize shipping vessels, was up 151 points, or 8.1%, at 2,020 points, rising to its highest level since Sept. 25, 2019.

The capesize index gained 450 points, or 12.7%, at 3,987 points.

Iron ore futures in China closed higher on Friday, helped by growing expectations for further policy measures to support a global economy hammered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Many businesses in China have reopened after weeks of coronavirus-led shutdowns, leading to an elevated shipping demand to the top steel producer country.

Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 150,000-tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, were up $3,734 to $33,066.

The panamax index was up nine points, or 0.7%, at 1,373 points, but recorded its first weekly drop in three.

Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes, increased $80 to $12,355.

Among smaller vessels, the supramax index fell one point to 991 points, while the handysize index rose one point to 593 points.

(Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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