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HANSA 12-2018

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Schifffahrt | Shipping China’s un-tariffed trades change, too A big share of shipping depends on China-related trades. Especially those with goods tariffed by the U.S. within the current trade war are affected – but not only those © Bimco Latest analyses of the shipping body Bimco reveal, that there have been no U.S. seaborne exports of crude oil to China in September, continuing the development of August – and despite crude oil not being a part of the »official trade war« so far. This means further changes and – in terms of long-term fleet and chartering planning – challenges for shipowners and managers. »The trade war between the U.S. and China is now impacting trade in both tariffed and some un-tariffed goods with both countries looking elsewhere for alternative buyers and sellers,« Bimco’s chief analyst Peter Sand states. Tonne mile demand generated by total U.S. crude oil exports has risen 17% from August to September, but is down 4.8% from the record high in July. »For the crude oil tanker shipping industry, distances often matter more than volumes, with exports of U.S. crude oil to Asia generating 74% of tonne mile demand in September, up from 70% in August,« he adds. In 2017, Chinese imports accounted for 23% of total U.S. crude oil exports. In 2018 that number was 22% during the first seven months, but has dropped to 0% in August and September. At the same time, for the seventh month in a row, total U.S. crude oil exports, excluding China, hit a new all-time high reaching 7.9 mill. t in September. According to the analysis, South Korea has become the largest long-distance importer of U.S. crude oil at 1.1 mill.t in September – its highest level ever. Similarly, the next top three overseas importers of U.S. crude oil, namely the United Kingdom, Taiwan (both at 0.94 mill. t) and the Netherlands (0.74 mill. t) all imported more in September than ever before. Exports to Asia jumped in June and July, from a 43% share of total exports since the start of 2017 to reach a 56% share. That share was down to 46% in August, but climbed back to 51% in September. The two other major importing regions are Europe (September: 33%) and North and Central America (13%), while South America (2%), and the Caribbean (1%) make up the rest. All in all, there is a lot of uncertainty in the tanker shipping market, which of course affects China. So, where is China getting its crude oil from, if not from the U.S.? Bimco’s data show changing trade lanes for crude oil tankers, with China importing more from other markets, in particular from West Africa. Another important China-related shipping market hit hard by the bilateral sanctions run is the one for U.S. soya beans. The trade war and particularly the Chinese tariffs on imports of US soya beans can now clearly be seen with the start of the soya bean peak exporting period in the U.S. In the first eight weeks of the 2018/19 marketing year accumulated U.S. ex- 34 HANSA International Maritime Journal – 155. Jahrgang – 2018 – Nr. 12

Schifffahrt | Shipping ports are down 39%, from 12.2 mill. t on 26 October 2017 to 7.5 mill. t on 25 October 2018. »In addition to the fall in total exports harming the shipping industry, an increasing proportion of the demand comes from destinations closer to the U.S., further lowering the overall tonnemile demand,« Sand says. While in the first eight weeks of last marketing year China accounted for 70% of total U.S. soya bean exports, the trade war has led to the Chinese taking just 4% of exports this marketing year. »The driving force behind the lower exports is the drop in Chinese demand. In the first eight weeks of last year, exports of U.S. soya beans to China averaged a million tonnes a week. This year soya beans have only been sent to China in three of the eight weeks«, the analyst adds. A couple of days earlier already, Bimco assessed an unexpected trade shift from China to Iran, which emerged as No. 1 buyer in August. Sand commented: »Bimco anticipated trade lanes to change due to the ongoing trade war between China and the U.S. But it’s fair to say that Iran’s massive and sudden appetite for U.S. soya beans is very unexcepted and the reason is currently unknown. From a shipping perspective it’s vital to have continued exports sent to far away destinations, deploying the many ships in position right now to cater for the seaborne transportation demand.« He added, that if the sharp fall of Chinese imports are the result of farmers changing the diet of their pigs from a much higher soya meal content than the global average to a normalised and lower one, to reduce U.S. imports, they may not need to find a replacement producer. »A full replacement that may also be very difficult to find.« Major shake-up? However, notwithstanding the partly huge effects of the trade war on specific China-related shipping trades, there is another picture if one looks at the global market – with China playing a major role in it. Bimco itself stated in September already that a broader view is worthwhile: In the eyes of the shipping body, the tariffed goods’ share of global trade is largely underestimating the overall negative impact of this trade war on globalisation and international shipping. The dry bulk shipping industry is the most affected in terms of volumes largely due to the Chinese tariffs, but the whole trade war still impacts only 1.9% of total dry bulk seaborne trade in 2017. 2,002 Handymax loads are now affected. This is equal to the impact on the container shipping industry which also sees 1.9% of total containerized seaborne trade affected. »The dry bulk shipping industry remains by far the most affected by Chinese tariffs in terms of volumes« Of the goods which already faced tariffs, namely the targeted steel and aluminium commodities and the 34 bn $ worth of goods, most were dry bulk and container goods. 23.3 mill. t of the affected steel and aluminium commodities were imported by the U.S. via sea in 2018. While containerized goods have already been targeted by the first 50 bn $ round, the biggest impact on these would come if the then proposed 200 bn $ round is implemented. Until then, the tariffed goods totalled to 6.6 mill. t of seaborne trade from China to the U.S. in 2017. This was equivalent to 660,000 TEU, which amounts to 5.9% of U.S. West Coast container imports in 2017. A further 22.4 mill. t of seaborne containerized goods would be impacted by the 200 bn $ list, which amounts to a further 20.1% of USWC imports in 2017, or 2.24 mill. TEU. The dry bulk shipping industry remains by far the most affected by Chinese tariffs in terms of volumes. The largest »one commodity« targeted by the trade war are U.S. soya beans, which as of 6 July face 25% tariffs when imported into China. »While the narrowly measured amount of impacted cargoes may seem small in perspective of the entire market – the impact is the opposite. The shipping industry is trapped between a rock and a hard place in an already troubled market. In the tramp shipping market, uncertainty about where the next cargo will come from makes it very difficult to reposition your ship after discharge. For the liner shipping market, matching deployed capacity on trade lanes with actual demand becomes even harder,« Sand concludes.MM Mit über 130-jähriger Tradition ist FahnenFleck Ihr Spezialist für die Ausstattung mit: Schiffsflaggen Nationalflaggen Fahnenmasten Displays Beachflags Eventausstattung Wir beraten Sie gern: Tel. 040 - 300 934 - 0 Mehr Infos: HANSA International Maritime Journal – 155. Jahrgang – 2018 – Nr. 12 35

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