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Shipping Looking for Rebound Clues

With dry bulk rates plunging and the profit plays in the tanker market soon expected to come to an end, the shipping industry is looking for clues towards the next upward cycle, as the global economy is slowly emerging from the self-imposed lockdown measures. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Allied Shipbroking said that “a global economic restart has slowly begun as countries around the world gradually set their return back to “normality”. Yet by all measures it seems that we will be far from normality for some time at least as the scars of the pandemic lockdown seem to be severe across all industries and nations. It is no surprise therefore how must are predicting very poor global GDP figures for 2020 while holding very skeptical opinions for 2021”.

Source: Allied Shipbroking

According to Allied’s George Lazaridis, Head of Research & Valuations, “the US and Europe have been two of the worst hit economies, while in respect to the size of these two economies the ripple effects across the globe as part of the drop in consumer spending that has taken place and that is expected to unfold over the coming months in these two major economies is expected to be considerable. Even China which has already eased back measures for some time now is showing signs of struggling to regain its previous momentum. In the midst of all this poor market sentiment, the global commodities trade is starting to buckle under the strain”.

Source: Allied Shipbroking

He added that “some such as crude oil have been shaken by events far reaching the global pandemic (both in a positive as well as in a negative manner), while others are finding it difficult to regain a bullish foothold given their significant reliance on global investments and consumer spending patterns. Yet many in the shipping industry still hold for an optimistic scenario playing out whereby some of the “lost” trade is recuperated over the coming months, helping as such feed a momentary rally that could help counter some of the freight rate earnings that were incurred during Q1 and Q2 of 2020”.

Lazaridis added that “all this seems well and good but to what extent can we really depend on a strong rally taking shape over the coming months and to what extent can this really bring back a balance to the global freight markets? The issue is that although it is a certainty that due to the major trade disruptions that have unfolded over the past months, we are sure to see increased volumes emerge as the global economy opens up for business once more. Yet at the same time, given the extent and length of the disruptions that have been seen and coupled with the strong dampening effect that has been pressed on to global consumption levels, we are likely to see a fair share of this past and present lost activity being lost forever. To what extent is surely hard to calculate right now because a whole lot depends on market sentiment and appetite for speculative trading. Yet even if we were able to see a double digit percentage share of March, April and May trading volumes being shifted over to the summer months, this would surely be enough to bring about a strong shift in freight markets to the owners’ favor”.

Source: Allied Shipbroking

Allied’s analyst noted that “rates are still looking likely to climb by a fair bit and recover some of the “loses” incurred earlier on in the year (all this depending on the rolling back of lock down measures going smoothly and no resurgence in virus cases being noted). Yet it looks as though even with a positive rally taking place during Q3, the signs are troubling as to the potential prospects beyond that horizon. The final quarter of 2020 is likely to be considerably subdued, especially when compared to the typical seasonal patterns, while 2021 is looking ever more likely to at least start off on a fairly pessimistic note. Given the drop in economic activity coupled with the sharp rise in unemployment figures in key economies, the road back to recovery is looking to be long and bumpy. It will likely take some time before we are able to recover from this shock, even when taking into consideration the vast amounts of support being provided by the likes of the FED, ECB and governments around the world”, Lazaridis concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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