Europe’s declining shipbuilding sector comes under the spotlight in our regular shipbuilding feature. Ten years ago, six European countries had an orderbook in excess of 1 million deadweight tonnes but today only one country can boast of that level of support.
Oil prices have now been in a continual slow decline for around a year and although prices are currently o the bottom, the o shore industry has caught a severe cold and lay-o s and lay-ups continue to be the order of the day. The e ect on bunker prices has relieved the pressure on other operators but even with that silver lining, the clouds of gloom continue to gather over the container sector.
To the chagrin of many, China’s economy appears to be stalling and while there may be a pick up just around the corner, belief in never ending growth has finally hit the brick wall of reality. The decision in the summer to devalue its currency may help China maintain its level of exports but that is not guaranteed as cagey western consumers consider the possibility of an interest rate rise at the turn of the year. Of all shipping’s sectors only tanker freight rates have shown any resilience but it has been a roller coaster ride in every segment except MR.
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