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Moore Stephens confidence index up from all-time-low in May

Moore Stephens confidence index up from all-time-low in May
Shipping confidence has reached 5.9 out of 10 on Moore Stephens’ latest survey, its highest level so far this year following an all-time-low of 5.3 in May.

The survey by the shipping adviser found that charterers and owners, particularly, increased in confidence, from 4.2 to 6.5 and from 5.1 to 5.8 respectively. Asia confidence increased from 4.9 to 5.8, in Europe 5.3 to 5.9, and in North America from 6 to 6.3.

But many of the responses were not overly positive, in spite of the marginal improvement. “Regulations are going to kill us!” declared one respondent, while another claimed “It might require a major conflagration to kick-start the industry. That may sound unpleasant, but without it we are in for a lengthy stay in the doldrums.”

More respondents expected finance costs to increase over the next 12 months, increasing to 48% from 40% in May, particularly owners (to 53% from 35%) and charterers (up to 50% from 33%). However, respondents were more likely to make a major investment or significant development over the next 12 months, with results up to 5.3, their highest in 12 months, from 5 in May. Charterers, particularly, upped their figure to 6.1 from 4.5 in May.

“It is always encouraging to see a graph moving in the right direction,” said Richard Greiner, Moore Stephens partner, Shipping Industry Group, although he pointed out given May’s result this improvement was to be expected.

Greiner highlighted one response which indicated “traditional trades are in danger of disappearing as the EU increasingly becomes a destination for imports from the Far East and India, rather than a producer of goods”.

“This is not a new phenomenon,” said Greiner, “but it does underline how important it is for shipping businesses to keep pace with and adapt to change, or even anticipate it where possible. Information, and the ability to disseminate it, together with the timely identification of risk, has never been more important.

“Many [respondents] are also interested in the longer-term view, and the portents here are generally encouraging. Firstly, world population is growing. The UN predicts that the global population will reach between 8.3bn and 10.9bn by 2050.

“The world economy is predicted to grow which, again, is good news for shipping. The World Trade Organisation forecasts that growth in the volume of world trade will rise from 2.8% in 2014 to 4.0% in 2016.

“So the long-term outlook for shipping offers encouragement to existing and new investors alike. Those who are not attracted by the longer-term prospects, meanwhile, will doubtless exit the industry, and in the process may help solve some of its problems.”