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Baltic index inches up on rising capesize rates

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July 17 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index edged up on Friday, helped by rising rates for capesize vessels.

* The Baltic dry index, which tracks rates for ships ferrying dry bulk commodities and reflects rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels, rose 11 points, or about 0.6%, to 1,710.

* The Baltic capesize index rose 54 points, or 1.8%, to 3,025.

* 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 $446 at $25,085.

* Rising demand for iron ore from China, as the world's second-largest economy gradually opens up for business after months of virus-led lockdowns, has helped the capesize segment to gain 55% so far this year.

* China's iron ore imports jumped to a 33-month high in June, customs data showed on Tuesday, fuelled by rising shipments from miners and by robust demand from steel mills in the country.

* The world's largest iron ore miner Rio Tinto said conditions in China had improved across the second quarter and appeared to be stabilising, with construction and infrastructure sectors performing well.

* The panamax index was down 40 points, or 2.6%, at 1,504, its lowest since July 7.

* Average daily earnings for panamaxes, which usually carry coal or grain cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes, fell by $366 to $13,532.

* However, the supramax index rose 11 points, or 1.2%, to 910. (Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Milla Nissi)