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Oslo Slock Exchange Pounded By Downturn

Financial turmoil in Asia and Russia resulted in plunging stock markets worldwide in August. In addition, a low oil price and a record low Norwegian kroner ensured that the Oslo Stock Exchange (OSE) all share index fell by 22.6 percent in August. In the two month period July and August the all share index fell by 24 percent.

The shipping index fell 34 percent in the two month period ending August 31. For the year, the shipping index is down 38.1 percent. Tanker Navigation ASA and Jinhui Shipping & Transportation Ltd. were the only maritime companies listed on the OSE to experience positive movement of share prices between the end of June and the end of August. Tanker Navigation shares rose 23.4 percent after Rowan Investments Limited announced a voluntary offer in order to raise its holding in the company.

The offshore sector was hit particularly hard in the period, with shares such as Stolt Comex Seaway, Ocean Rig and Petroleum Geo-Services falling by more than 50 percent. The worst performing shares in the shipping sector, Frontline and NCL Holding, plummeted by more than 40 percent.

Trading in maritime shares, however, remained relatively high in the months of July and August, though lower than the average for the year due to summer holidays and falling prices. Compared to the period last year, the turnover of shipping and offshore shares on the main list increased by 25.8 percent from $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion. The turnover was up 78 percent for the first eight months of 1998 to $6.5 billion compared to $3.6 billion in the same period last year. Two maritime companies were floated in August — Singapore-based Nortrans Offshore and Wabo — a Panamax OBO specialist demerged from OSE listed Waterfront Shipping

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