Donald Trump hogs all the headlines when it comes to policy. His trade war with China, rapprochement with Russia, his issues with the EU and NATO, all point to a more volatile political environment which is bound to affect business confidence, trade, and shipping demand. Frustratingly for his opponents, these effects are yet to show through in the data. Global GDP forecasts from the IMF suggest that growth will be 3.94 per cent this year and next year, with the majority of growth coming from commodity-hungry emerging and fast-growing countries is Asia particularly.
In terms of outlook, global energy demand continues to grow, while global energy supplies continue to diversify. The result is a potential increase in trade, with policy and regulations getting in the way. The global reshuffle of petroleum products storage and manufacturing is underway already, but the Marpol 2020 regs have yet to light a fire under the freight markets. Ship owners, ever the optimists, are turning their eyes to 2019 already….