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Farewell Abe, Hello Hydrogen

Japan's Next Leader Must Look to the Future Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has bowed out for medical reasons and will step aside when his party has chosen his successor. Given the economic backdrop to and context of his premiership, one has to conclude that he did pretty well to keep Japan’s economy growing at all. He ascended to the premiership after two decades of stagnation during which Japan somehow managed to maintain its status as the world’s second largest economy but also seemed to lose its vim. Perhaps this was due to Japan’s awful demographics – ageing populations spend less than younger ones and Japan has traditionally shunned migrant workers in favour of greater automation a

China Covets the Pilbara Killer

In July, China imported a record amount of iron ore – 10 Mn T more than the previous monthly record. For the first seven months of 2020, iron ore imports were up nearly 12%, adding 65 Mn T to the same period a year earlier to stand at around 650 Mn T. No wonder Capesize earnings put on weight in the year. The imports increased even as steel production rose less than 2% for the first seven months of 2020 and even as iron ore import prices pushed up to around USD 128 per tonne by mid-August Much head-scratching has followed, but my guess is that domestic Chinese iron ore production and crucially domestic iron ore transport has become less economically viable during and after the Coronavirus

Liner Companies Have Learned their Lessons

Liner companies have announced a positive set of results, by and large, this earnings season. Anyone who watched the slump in container trade in the first half of this year would be surprised that the industry has weathered the Covid storm so well. According to Container Trade Statistics data, global container imports fell 9% in the first half of 2020 compared the second half of 2019, while they also fell year on year by 6%. The biggest year on year falls in the first half of this year were on imports to Latin America, which were down 13%, matching up with a 10% fall in exports from North America. Meanwhile, imports to the Indian Subcontinent were down 10% year on year, matching up with a 10

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