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Baltic index inches down on lower panamax rates

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March 13 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index edged down on Friday, as lower rates for panamax vessels more than offset a rise in the capesize and supramax segments.

* The Baltic index, which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels that ferry dry bulk commodities, fell 2 points, or 0.3%, to 631.

* However, the index gained 2.3% this week, marking its fifth straight weekly gain.

* The capesize index rose 44 points to -311.

* Average daily earnings for capesizes, which typically transport 170,000 tonne-180,000 tonne cargoes including iron ore and coal, rose by $105 to $2,797.

* Many businesses in top steel producer China have reopened after weeks of shutdowns due to virus containment measures, but overall demand for metals remains clouded because of the global pandemic.

* The panamax index dropped 28 points, or 2.7%, to 1,007.

* The index lost 5.7% this week, registering its first weekly loss in five.

* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes-70,000 tonnes, fell $253 to $9,061.

* The supramax index rose five points to 750 - the highest level since Dec. 19. (Reporting by Anjishnu Mondal in Bengaluru)