Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Harpex still bumping along the bottom

If the recession is over, there's little evidence for it in container trade. August's Harpex continued to bump along the bottom, actually reaching a new low last week.

In a cogent piece in Scotland's Herald, Douglas Hamilton warns of a crisis ahead for German ship operators; Hapag-Lloyd 'needs 1.75bn to stay afloat' (Euros? Dollars?) and he points out that 'Many became wealthy in the years of the boom, including ship owners, bankers and investors, particularly in Hamburg. Germans own 35% of the container ships in operation worldwide, and close to 60 shipping banks and financiers are headquartered in Hamburg.'

With few operators confident enough to order new keels laid, and as older vessels leave the market, there is also the danger that the current overcapacity will swing to a dangerous undercapacity at some stage in the recovery. But no-one ever promised that globalisation would be easy.


Budgie said...

Although economic indicators like the Baltic Dry Index are not expansionary, there is not the panic in the air that there was this time last year.

I think we will have a W shape recession, especially in the UK with our extraordinary government and personal debts. So I expect another dip, but I am not convinced that there will be another crash this October. And the second serious dip may not occur for months. There, I have stuck my neck out.

Raedwald said...

My money's on a W too, Budgie; the original problems and instabilities haven't gone away, the trillions of overvalued derivatives haven't been inflated down, assets are still over-valued and so on.