Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Low Spot Rates Portend Tougher Times for Shippers

Shipping stock aficionados need to take note that Trans-Pacific spot rates are hitting lows.  Expect to see the effects on shippers' earnings in Q4.  The carriers that come out healthy will be those that avoided rushing into newbuild orders in late 2010.  Check the 2010 and 2011 10-Ks' MD&As for mentions of capex committed to new hulls. 
Oh, BTW, the pending federal legislation to slap sanctions on China for keeping its currency strong will probably launch a trade war that hurts the rest of those shippers that stayed healthy.  We won't see much more of the modest August rise in container traffic; that was driven by macroeconomic demand in Asia for commodities and beggar-thy-neighbor pricing differences with bulk shippers.  Choppy waters lie ahead for ocean cargo carriers. 

Nota bene:  No positions in shipping stocks at this time.