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A Flash in the Pan? (Macro Macchiato 29/10/19)

Earlier this month I gave a presentation to an invited audience of oil tanker owners. This in itself is not unusual. What was unusual on that particular day was the ballistic rise in oil tanker earnings. The freight market was spooked by US sanctions on elements of the COSCO ship owning behemoth, by Exxon’s refusal to hire any ship that had visited Venezuela in the last year, by US sanctions on Iran, by attacks on ships in the Middle East (it was an Iranian tanker that ironically was attacked on the day)…it was getting silly….the tanker market was like a spooked horse, ready to bolt at the sight of a piece of litter in the road. According to the Baltic Exchange, average VLCC daily earnings r

Guardians of the Seas? (Macro Macchiato 21/10/19)

It was clear from the great majority of delegates to Cyprus Maritime 2019 that the shipping industry is serious about cleaning up its act. On my own panel at the event, Dr Sadan Kaptanoglu, President of BIMCO, reiterated her conviction that delivering solutions to meet the world’s environmental expectations is her priority, which makes it BIMCO’s priority too. I’m sure that most other shipping organisations are in line with the move toward environmental sustainability, while recognising that decarbonisation and sanitation of the physical movement of goods and commodities by sea remains extremely difficult from technical, commercial and financial perspectives. We are for example only 71 days

Tanker Markets Go Bananas: Can It Last? (Macro Macchiato)

Last week, before I went to Cyprus Maritime 2019, I opined in Macro Macchiato that, “with so much macro-economic confusion, predicting shipping markets is even more of a mug’s game than usual.” Even I didn’t expect the tanker markets to behave so unpredictably. They have reacted to an unexpected alignment of supply-side constraints. With COSCO Energy Shipping and National Iranian Tanker Company VLCCs out of the market due to US sanctions, around 70 Very Large Crude Carriers – around eight per cent of the world’s VLCC fleet – has been taken out of circulation. With the IMO 2020 regulations coming up, an uncertain number of oil tankers are sailing to ship repair yards this year to have emiss

Better days ahead for shipping?

Greetings from Cyprus, where today I am moderating a panel session entitled, Are Brighter Days Ahead for Shipping? As any market analyst or data scientist will tell you, the main influence on shipping markets remains global GDP. And, as I have been saying for years, within the global set of GDP data, the main influence remains the twin processes of industrialization and urbanization especially in developing markets. So I’m excited to hear the views of my illustrious panel on what will be the key drivers for the industry in the years to come. Because, let’s face it, it’s been a funny old year so far. Macro fundamentals remain patchy so short-term influences are driving freight rate trends. Fo

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