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Baltic index edges up as capesize rates firm

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July 16 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index edged higher on Thursday, supported by gains in the capesize segment which snapped an eight-session losing streak.

* The Baltic dry index, which tracks rates for ships ferrying dry bulk commodities and reflects rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels, rose 3 points, or about 0.2%, to 1,699.

* The Baltic capesize index rose 30 points, or 1%, to 2,971, after eight straight sessions of losses.

* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport cargoes of 170,000 tonnes to 180,000 tonnes, including iron ore and coal, was up by $252 at $24,639.

* The capesize segment has gained 52% so far this year boosted by rising demand for iron ore from China, as the world's second-largest economy gradually opened up for business after months of virus-led lockdowns.

* China's iron ore imports jumped 16.8% in June from a month earlier, customs data showed on Tuesday, fuelled by rising shipments from miners and robust demand in the country.

* China's gross domestic product rose 3.2% in the second quarter from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday, faster than the 2.5% forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll.

* The panamax index was down 35 points, or 2.2%, at 1,544.

* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, fell by $313 to $13,898.

* However, the supramax index rose 9 points, or 1%, to 899. (Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Milla Nissi)