Fears rise over crash in key shipping index

Julian Harris
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WORRIES over the strength of the global economic recovery have been sparked this week by a near 40 per cent collapse in a key benchmark.

The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) records the cost of shipping raw materials around the world, and is used by some analysts as an indicator of economic health in the near future.

The BDI had a score of 2,277 on Christmas Eve, yet fell for nine straight days once trading kicked off this year. Last night it was at 1,374, having edged up by just four points during yesterday’s trading.

Scores over 11,500 were printed in 2008, but the index collapsed after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, reflecting the global financial crisis.

A ban on ship-loading in Colombia imposed on mining firm Drummond has been blamed for some of the recent fall, but Rui Guo of Icap Shipping told City A.M. that this was “not the main driver” of the decline.

However, Guo played down wider fears. “This is partly seasonal,” Guo said. “After Chinese New Year, I expect there’ll be a recovery.”