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Is this how sanctions are supposed to work? (Macro Macchiato 30/09/19)

Look Mum, we’re in the papers! It isn’t often that shipping finds its way onto the pages of the mainstream press. Usually it’s because of bad news. This week it’s because the US-Iran phony war has spread to the tanker market and has leached into the US-China trade war. Last week the US State Department announced that, as part of its sanctions on Iran, it would sanction oil tanker companies that lift Iranian oil. Two units of China’s Cosco tanker shipping arm were named. COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Co., Ltd. (“COSCO Tanker”) and COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Seaman and Ship Management Co., Ltd. (“COSCO Management”). Four other Chinese companies and several individuals were placed on the l

Is the Climate Change Climate Changing? (Macro Macchiato 23/09/19)

On Sunday, to mark the UN Climate Summit in New York, the World Meteorological Organisation published new data showing 2014-19 to be the warmest five-year-period on record at 1.1 Celsius above the average for 1850-1900 average. Here are some key findings: “Arctic summer sea-ice extent has declined at a rate of approximately 12% per decade during 1979-2018. The four lowest values for winter sea-ice extent occurred between 2015 and 2019. Overall, the amount of ice lost annually from the Antarctic ice sheet increased at least six-fold between 1979 and 2017. Glacier mass loss for 2015-2019 is the highest for any five-year period on record. “Levels of the main long-lived greenhouse gases, carbon

Between Abqaiq and a Hard Place (Macro Macchiato 16/09/19)

However many billions the Saudis have spent on defence, it wasn’t enough to prevent the weekend attacks on Abqaiq. Half of Saudi oil production, around 5 Mn bpd, has been taken offline for an indeterminate period. Oil prices jumped by USD 20 per barrel on Monday morning, before falling back a bit to add abut USD 10 per barrel, which traders seem to accept as the appropriate geopolitical premium. How will the attack and its consequences bear upon the shipping markets? War risk in the region will rise. The problem is not that this attack happened, it’s that it could presumably happen again and again. The US is pointing its finger at Iran for the attacks and will use them to ratchet up pressure

Macro Macchiato 09/09/19: London International Shipping Week

Macro data are looking a bit wobbly this week. What will that do to shipping markets? US jobs data for August were released on Friday. A total of 130,000 new jobs were created, which was about 20,000 below expectations. It was still a very positive number, though the Cassandras pointed to the addition of just 3,000 manufacturing jobs. After another round of US tariffs on Chinese exports, fears are growing that we are headed for a global recession. Manufacturing data for August were negative for all the major Asian economies: China, India, Japan, South Kore and Taiwan as well as from Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand. Germany and the eurozone are teetering on the brink of recession, and t

Back to school nerves? - Macro Macchiato 02/09/19

Readers with children will know the feeling. Others will remember the feeling. It’s that mixture of anticipation, pride and excitement tinged with the angostura bitters of anxiety. It’s that back-to-school, first day of term feeling. The economic masters start a new term this September with the school already in special measures and red marks in the margin. Here’s a teacher’s report from the IMF published in April 2019 showing the areas of weakness in the global schoolroom, split out by economic zone and sector. The deeper the green, the lower the risk. The deeper the red, the higher the anxiety. What strikes me about this chart is how little changed between October 2018 and April 2019. Ve

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