The Baltic Dry Index, which tracks ships rates for vessels transporting dry commodities, continues to mount an impressive comeback after its massive crash in October 2008. On Friday the index rose 2.68 per cent to 2,225 points, its highest rate this year. The key question though is whether the gains, appearing steadily over the last month (see chart below) can be maintained for the longer-term. This is especially the case since reports suggest the recent pickup in Chinese steel production could be compromised by falling steel prices. According to Standard Chartered much of the recent price weakness here stems from deteriorating demand in major regions including North America, Europe, and Asia. As Reuters reports: â¦benchmark steel prices in China have fallen by 13 per cent from February after mills increased output on expectation of demand coming from the governmentâs 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) stimulus package.