FFAs: rocking the boat?

The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) plumbed the depths in early 2008, sinking from record highs in late 2007. Some have blamed derivatives market activity for the sharp fall. Roderick Bruce casts a beady eye over the BDI and asks where prices are heading next

The Baltic Dry Index (BDI), which surged to an all-time high of 11,039 points on November 13, 2007, had fallen by 49% to 5,615 points by January 29, 2008. The drop included, on January 11, the biggest one-day fall (384 points) since records began in 1985. In dollar terms, a charterer wishing to hire a Capesize vessel in November 2007 had to pay as much as $190,000 a day, compared with $85,000 in January.

Analysts had expected the index, a composite of prices for 22 dry bulk routes, to stay high

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