Nov 8 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry commodities, remained flat on Thursday as capesize rates recovered and panamax rates slipped further.
The overall index, which reflects daily freight market prices for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize dry bulk transport vessels, remained at 916 points from Wednesday.
The Baltic's capesize index rose 1 percent to 2,119 points.
Average daily earnings for capesizes, which usually transport 150,000 tonne cargoes such as iron ore and coal, were up $140 at $13,685. Capesize rates recovered after falling for six straight sessions.
Iron ore rose to its highest in more than three months and traders upped offers on Thursday for cargoes for sale to top buyer China, hoping to sustain what has been a gradual increase in prices, with steel demand largely stable.
Iron ore shipments account for around a third of seaborne volumes on the larger capesizes, and brokers said price developments remained a key factor for dry freight.
The panamax index fell 1.49 percent, with average daily earnings down $84 at $5,820.
Panamaxes typically transport 60,000-70,000 tonne cargoes of coal or grain.
"The Atlantic market is horrible and holding the indices back," Andy Jamison, shipping blogger and owner of the Virtual Shipbroker, said.
The outlook does not look great in the mid-term with crop estimates slashed in the U.S and the Black Sea, Jamison added.
Average daily earnings for handysize ships were down $44 at$6,045, while those of supramax ships were down $26 at $6,735. (Reporting by NR Sethuraman in Bangalore; editing by Keiron Henderson)