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Confidence in ocean shipping business at 2-yr low

London’s Moore Stephen accounting firm says confidence in the ocean shipping business prospects has hit its lowest level in two years after declining a fourth consecutive quarter (ending in May), according to the Shipping Gazette.

"Freight rates are low and fuel costs are high, so confidence is low," one respondent told the Moore Stephen survey team.

In container shipping, 42% of respondents (49% in February), expected freight rates to rise in the next year. Shipowners expecting an increase was down (from 56% in February to 40% in May while charterers expecting a rise were down to 29% from 40%.

Overcapacity was cited as the big cause with rising oil prices running a close second, uniformly expressed by all shipping sectors, according ot the firm's latest survey, the report said, citing Newark's Journal of Commerce.

Average confidence levels was 5.6 on a scale of 1 - 10 with 10 being the higest level, against a 5.8 in February, the lowest reading since the 5.5 posted in May 2009. Charterers posted the lowest readings, 5.8 to 5.4, followed by managers, 6.0 to 5.8 and brokers. Confidence was lowest in Europe, falling from 5.6 to 5.5, but Asia recorded a bigger drop, 6.0 to 5.7.

One responded said that increases in the price of diesel have had a very negative influence on the trade and the consequences would be “catastrophic" if it continued. -- Source: Shipping Gazette