Moore Stephens: Shipping Confidence at Three-Year High

Shipping confidence reached its equal highest rating in the past three years in the three months to end-May 2017, international accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens informed.

The average confidence level expressed by respondents in Moore Stephens’ latest Shipping Confidence Survey was up to 6.1 out of 10.00 from the 5.6 recorded in the previous survey in February 2017. Increased confidence was recorded by all main categories of respondent to the survey, which launched in May 2008 with an overall confidence rating of 6.8.

In the case of brokers, the confidence rating rose from 4.6 to 6.4, while for owners the increase was from 5.6 to 6.1. Confidence on the part of charterers and managers, meanwhile, was up from 5.9 to 6.4, and from 6.0 to 6.2, respectively.

Confidence levels were unchanged in Asia at 5.6, but up in Europe, from 5.5 to 6.2, and in North America, from 6.1 to 6.4.

Although cautious optimism was expressed about the industry’s fortunes over the next 12 months, based largely on perceived increased levels of ship demolition and a rationalisation of over-ambitious newbuilding plans, concern persisted over political uncertainty, overtonnaging in certain trades, depressed oil prices and a potential dearth of quality seafarers.

The likelihood of respondents making a major investment or significant development over the next 12 months was up from 4.9 out of 10.0 in the previous survey to 5.4, the highest level since August 2014. There was increased confidence on the part of all major respondents, in the case of charterers up to a level of 6.3 from 5.8 in February 2017. Owners and managers, meanwhile, each registered a confidence level of 5.9, up from 5.1 and 5.6, respectively, last time. Confidence on the part of brokers was up from 3.4 to 4.4.

50% of respondents expected finance costs to increase over the coming year, compared to 54% in the previous survey. Owners’ expectations fell from 57% to 48%, while managers were also down, from 61% to 57%.

Demand trends, cited by 26% of respondents, continued to be the factor expected to influence performance most significantly over the next 12 months, followed by competition (22%) and finance costs (14%).

“Our latest survey found many of our respondents in watchful mode, mindful of the fact that there are still too many ships, but encouraged to believe that increased demolition and more pragmatism by industry stakeholders will help to redress this imbalance,” Richard Greiner, Partner, Shipping & Transport, said.

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