S&P Dow Jones Indices launches benchmarks to track dry bulk freight markets

US index provider S&P Dow Jones Indices has launched a new series of benchmarks that track performance of dry bulk freight markets using forward freight agreement prices.

The move comes as global supply chains disruptions from China’s zero-Covid policy and the war in Ukraine have hurt trading and caused shortages of a wide range of goods, driving up consumer prices. Dry bulk is the largest sector in the shipping industry.

The new S&P GSCI Freight Index Series provide investors with reliable, transparent, and publicly available performance benchmarks, S&P Dow Jones Indices says in a statement on August 5.

It uses monthly and quarterly forward freight agreement prices from the Baltic Exchange, the world’s only independent source of maritime market information for trading and settlement of physical and derivatives contracts.

Supply chain disruptions “have put global freight markets in the spotlight, highlighting their important link in the chain of the world economy and contributions to international trade”, according to Fiona Boal, head of commodities and real assets at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

“As global investors increasingly seek to diversify their investments and look for alternative vehicles to tap into niche market segments, this index series can be a meaningful gauge for the final value of this commodity,” she says in the statement.

There are four indices in the series: S&P GSCI Freign Capesize (Monthly), S&P GSCI Freign Capesize (Quarterly), S&P GSCI Freight Panamax (Monthly), and S&P GSCI Freight Panamax (Quarterly).

Capesize and Panamax are the largest and second largest standard sizes of dry bulk carriers.

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