NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Dry-bulk shipping stocks fell sharply for the second straight session Wednesday.
Shipping day-rates declined once again, according to the Baltic Exchange, a London-based ship broker, with fees for capesize vessels, the biggest dry bulk transports that ply the oceans, falling to about $48,000 a day after surmounting the $50,000 level last week.
The sector's woes paralleled the selling pressure that has afflicted commodities-related stocks across the board, from miners of base metals to producers of steel. The big-three iron ore producers, Vale (VALE), BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RTP), all saw their share prices fall by more than 5% Wednesday.
Of course, equities markets declined worldwide after new-home sales data in the U.S. showed an unexpected drop, inducing another round of worries about the fragility of the global economy. Flight from risk caused the dollar to rise and commodities prices (and commodities stocks) to sink.But some investors may fear that a slackening in demand for ore is developing after months of voracious buying by firms in China. Last month, the Chinese imported 65 million tons of ore, a record, while steel production in the People's Republic remained ultra brisk. Investors may be wondering how long all that can last, or simply noting that the Chinese iron-ore inventory is large enough to feed robust steel output for a long time to come. Anthony Rizutto, a metals analyst at Dahlman Rose in New York, said in a note Wednesday morning that "prices may continue to moderate over the near-term." But, he added, "We believe that long-term fundamentals remain supportive of raw materials."