The Baltic Exchange's leading shipping index, which tracks prices to ship key commodities, leapt to a new three-month high and brokers said this was largely due to China resuming iron ore imports.
The London-based index, which gauges prices to ship resources like iron ore, cement, grain, coal and fertiliser on major export routes, rose 9.61 per cent to 1,642 points from 1,498.
"The question is whether this is long-term," said a shipping broker. "There is no push from anywhere else, other than China."
BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, said this week a build-up of iron ore stockpiles in China, which had prompted suppliers to defer millions of tonnes in shipments last year, was ending. This was pushing up spot prices. Brokers said it was too soon to say whether the rise in the index reflected the start of a recovery in the economy.