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Crashing currencies and plate prices result in reset for ship recyclers

Photo: Leela Modernized ship recycling facility - Leela yard.png
End buyers are holding off finalising deals as steel plate prices fall and recycling currencies slip sharply against the dollar, according to the latest update from GMS, the world’s largest cash buyer of end-of-life ships.

The Ukraine conflict and global economic challenges are likely to result in a far bleaker summer and monsoon season, the company said, as end buyers, cash buyers, and owners all grapple with new price realities.

The dip in prices was clearly evident last week, with subcontinent markets down from recent peaks in which some deals closed at more than $700, to prices in the low $600s. Depreciating currencies are one of the main reasons for the retreat, GMS said, with the Turkish lira heading towards an all-time low of 18 to the dollar and the Pakistani rupee losing more than 3% against the US currency in the last two weeks alone. 

The unfolding global economic crisis is resulting in the usual games at the waterfront, GMS noted, with end buyers ‘finding the most frivolous of reasons to abandon deals with the sole intent to talk down the price’. Owners seeking offers on fresh units would be well-advised to steer clear of the markets for the moment, the firm recommended, as buyers are likely to be offering ‘opportunistic’ prices that do not reflect today’s market.

Prices for all principal ship types fell in the four main recycling locations. Indian yards lead the pack, with indicative prices for container ships of $640 per ldt, $630 for tankers, and $620 for bulk carriers. Bangladeshi buyers are about ten dollars behind, with Pakistani yards down a further ten.

Typical prices at facilities in Aliaga, where eight yards have now been approved under the European Union Ship Recycling Regulation, are about $300 lower, at $330, $320 and $310 for the three ship types respectively.