Well, summer’s here and shipping investors are heading for the sun and a bit of relaxation. It’s halfway through the year, so it’s also a chance to reflect on the last six months, and maybe speculate a little about the next. But to enjoy this diverting task, you need the right sort of drink and we think Greta Gronholm’s cocktail My Green Summer (MGS), voted IBA cocktail of the year in 2013, might be just the thing.
Shaken And Stirred
The shipping cocktail in the chart has three ingredients – a bland but pleasantly oily world economy, fruity freight rates, with an intrusive hint of bad bulker, and cool prices. Give it a good shake and you can drink it but you’d be much better off sticking to Greta’s award winning brew.
Economy – Bland With Attitude
My Green Summer is based on the economical Martini Prosecco, a suitably affordable fizz to toast OECD industry whose growth rate halved to less than 2% pa in the first half of 2015. China is a worry, with imports down 7%, as the steel industry finally peaked out, and there are concerns about its $28 trillion debt problem, a real estate bubble and the stock market. But My Green Summer spices things up with a dollop of exclusive Grey Goose La Poire vodka. Luckily oil prices, down 46% since last year, are doing the same thing for the economic cocktail. Cheap oil is sweetening up world oil demand, and the IEA in June revised its demand forecast up to 1.4 million bpd growth in 2015, a helpful 1.5% increase.
Revenue Tasty By Tart
On the earnings front, the last six months was surprisingly flavoursome. My Green Summer adds Routin 1883 Green Apple, Routin 1883 Passionfruit, and a touch of Call Premium Lime juice. You can taste all these fruity flavours in the market, with oil tanker earnings up 110%, gas carriers up 26%, and (a bit sharper) containerships up 36%. With most segments doing better in the first half-year, the Clarksea Index was up by 29%. But whoever mixed the cocktail wasn’t paying attention. Although tanker rates were historically strong, boxships are still struggling to cover depreciation and the miserable dry bulk performance, with average earnings of only $6,500/day is leaving drinkers with an very unpleasant aftertaste.
Asset Prices Cucumber Cool
The final ingredient of My Green Summer is a slug of Le Sirop de Monin Cucumber, which pretty well describes asset prices – cool. Bulker prices dropped 34% as investors, after the euphoria of 18 months ago, cooled to the prospect of an imminent market recovery, concluding there’s too much capacity everywhere. Meanwhile, secondhand prices for crude tankers have risen year-on-year bur product tanker prices have fallen away on the same basis. Meanwhile the shipyards are discounting prices, especially for the bigger ships.
Not Really An Award Winner?
So there you have it. A fizzy world economy, shaken up with a dash of cheap oil; some fruity tanker earnings, a large slug of bulker bitters all shaken with a measure of Le Sirop de Sluggish Sentiment. It’s not really a classic cocktail is it? Have a nice day.