An almost unprecedented demand surge in nearly all trade lanes - double digit growth on the world’s largest deepsea box routes connecting Asia with North Europe and North America - all along with soaring freight rates helped by container shortages - the idle ships melt away in the sun of an apparent global recovery. No wonder that confidence is fast returning to container shipping: inflation is low, consumers do what they are expected to do, this is it, the worst is behind us, to h... with crisis!
Apparently, few are still wondering how this all can all be reconciled with a variety of indicators pointing
to the contrary, including the serious financial woes of the Europe Union, a depreciating Euro,
mixed signals on the actual strength of the economic recovery in the US considering May and June declining consumer confidence, the initial inventory re-stocking effect in the volumes probably concluded
(Macquarie thinks that this is still to start), and the early June (US) Purchasing Managers’ Index indicating
slower growth rates.
And there’s always somebody spoiling the party. This time it is Bank of America Merrill Lynch foreseeing
an Asian shipping slump, anticipating that the region’s exports are beyond their peak and thus
overseas shipments to slow through the rest of the year. The financial institute’s expectation is based
on its assessment that exports of raw materials to China have slowed for 5 consecutive months now
and a softening of orders not only in China and Japan but elsewhere in Asia too.
Notwithstanding the above, the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) is,
albeit with some reservations, quite bullish about this and next years’ trade growth prospects, using three
different benchmark models:
|OECD average projection
|World production/export orders/shipping prices
Source: Dynaliners 07-02-2010