Global Shipping Rates Slump
Freight rates for dry-bulk and container ships, carriers of most of the world's raw materials and finished goods, have plunged over the last six months in the latest sign the global economy is slowing significantly.The Baltic Dry Index, measure of ship transport costs for materials like iron ore and coal, has fallen by 47 percent since mid-2018, when a trade dispute between the United States and China resulted in the world's two biggest economies slapping import tariffs on each other's goods.Dry-bulk commodities are taken as a leading economic indicator…
Oil Prices Dip as Markets Eye Potential Supply Increases
Oil prices fell on Monday as concerns about supply disruptions eased and Libyan ports resumed export activities, while traders eyed potential supply increases by Russia and other oil producers.Brent crude futures were down 26 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $75.07 a barrel at 0057 GMT.U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 27 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $70.74 a barrel.Supply outages in Libya and strike action in Norway and Iraq pushed oil prices higher late last week, although prices still ended down for a second straight week."Crude oil prices fell as fears of supply disruptions eased.
Baltic Index Posts Biggest Daily Drop in 2 Months
The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, registered its biggest one-day percentage fall in about two months, primarily on weaker rates for capesize bulk carriers. The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize shipping vessels, fell for the fifth consecutive session on Wednesday. The Baltic dry index fell 2.55 percent, or 32 points, to 1,223 points - its biggest daily percentage fall since Feb. The capesize index lost 153 points, or 6.42 percent, at 2,229 points.
Oil Steady, Supply Outlook Unclear
Oil prices were little changed on Monday, with little news to influence a market waiting to see whether U.S. production from shale fields will grow enough to offset planned output cuts by OPEC, Russia and other producers next year. Brent futures for February delivery were down 24 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $54.97 a barrel by 11:43 a.m. EST (1643 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for January rose 6 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $51.96 per barrel on its last day as the front-month. "Implied U.S. output increases...will offset a significant portion of the planned OPEC production cuts especially since we don't anticipate sustained strong compliance," Jim Ritterbusch, president of Chicago-based energy advisory firm Ritterbusch & Associates, said in a note.
China Steel, Iron Ore Slip Deeper into Bear Territory
Chinese steel and iron ore futures fell deeper into bear market territory on Thursday, as the country's exchanges unveiled more measures aimed at dampening the type of speculative trading behind a powerful rally last month. The aggressive steps to limit speculative buying have helped fuel a retreat in raw materials from steel to coal after the mid-April upsurge that inflated volumes and prices to levels that some analysts felt defied fundamentals. On Wednesday, the Dalian Commodity Exchange said it would set a maximum open interest limit for the trading of a single contract in a certain period, excluding business for hedging purposes. The move is aimed at preventing investors from taking excessive positions.
Indonesia Plans to Build 22 Ports
Indonesia Port Corporations (IPC) or PT Pelabuhan Indonesia (Pelindo) II, Indonesia’s state-owned port operator is to build 22 ports in the country in the next five years for an anticipated cost of around $3.5 billion. “We are targeting to build 22 ports from Belawan to Sorong within five years,” Pelindo II chief executive Richard Joost Lino said. The Indonesian port projects are to be financed by cash and loans and once completed each will have a capacity of 2.5 million TEUs.
LNG Shipping Rates Nosedive
According to Andrew Buckland, a London-based analyst at Wood Mackenzie Ltd rates to transport liquefied natural gas have declined to about $50,000 per day and will probably go lower before recovering. In 2012 it was more than $140,000 a day. That’s good news for buyers and sellers of the fuel. Lower rates can benefit traders that sign short-term contracts and give LNG players flexibility in where they deliver the gas, said Hal Miller, president of consulting company Galway Group in Houston. At the same time, ship owners will be hurt by falling rates.
LNG Tankers Idled as Gas Downturn Widens
Combined tanker capacity of at least 2.25 mcm LNG lies unused. Over a dozen liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers are parked, many idle, in and around Singapore - one of the world's biggest trading hubs for the fuel - in a sign that the slowdown engulfing world gas markets may be worsening into a crisis. With Asian spot LNG prices down by almost two-thirds since February 2014 as slowing demand combines with rising output, shippers are parking their tankers close to ports like Singapore where unused ships can be easily maintained and serviced until new orders come in. Leading ship brokers estimate over one-tenth of the global fleet of 400 LNG tankers is currently unused because of slowing growth in Asia's biggest economies. The impact just in Singapore suggests the problem could be worse.