Baltic Dry Index

The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) is an economic indicator issued daily by the London-based Baltic Exchange. Not restricted to Baltic Sea countries, the index provides "an assessment of the price of moving the major raw materials by sea. Taking in 23 shipping routes measured on a timecharter basis, the index covers Handysize, Supramax, Panamax, and Capesize dry bulk carriers carrying a range of commodities including coal, iron ore and grain."

Every working day, a panel of international shipbrokers submits their view of current freight cost on various routes to the Baltic Exchange. The routes are meant to be representative, i.e. large enough in volume to matter for the overall market.

These rate assessments are then weighted together to create both the overall BDI and the size specific Supramax, Panamax, and Capesize indices. The BDI factors in the four different sizes of oceangoing dry bulk transport vessels:

Ship Classification Dead Weight Tons % of World Fleet % of Dry Bulk Traffic
Capesize 100,000+ 10% 62%
Panamax 60,000-80,000 19% 20%
Supramax 45,000-59,000 37% 18% w/   Handysize
Handysize 15,000-35,000 34% 18% w/   Supramax

The BDI contains route assessments based only on time-charter hire rates "USD paid per day per Metric Ton". Fuel (="Bunkers") is the largest voyage dependent cost and moves with the crude oil price. In periods where bunker costs fluctuate significantly, the BDI will move more than the shipowners' realised earnings.

The index can be accessed on a subscription basis directly from the Baltic Exchange as well as from major financial information and news services such as Macrobond Financial, Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg L.P..

* wikipedia

Daily BDI rates;

http://www.dryships.com/pages/report.php