(57 days ago)
New orders received by Chinese shipyards – now infamous for undercutting competitors and sinking into bankruptcy – have plunged 58.5% so far this year through October, compared to last year, according to shipping industry data provider BIMCO, cited by the Nikkei. At South Korean shipyards, which include the three largest in the world, orders have plunged 84.2%; at Japanese shipyards, 90%.
They all focused on large dry-bulk vessels, tankers, and containerships. But this year, orders for tankers globally plunged 80% and for container ships 84%.
Global trade, which collapsed during the Financial Crisis but then recovered in a V-shaped manner, was expected to continue soaring. Instead, it has languished over the past few years.
Carriers that transport these goods in dry-bulk vessels, tankers, and container ships, face rampant overcapacity and crushed shipping rates. Smaller ones have sunk. In August, Hanjin, the sixth largest carrier and a formerly too-big-to-fail company in South Korea, was allowed to fail. And they all stopped ordering ships.
No industry can survive for long when orders collapse at these rates. But next year might be worse, according to Peter Sand, BIMCO’s chief shipping analyst. For the Asian shipbuilders concentrated in the container, dry-bulk or offshore segments, “there is a possibility for postponements and cancellations.”
Outright cancellations are bad enough. But “postponements can add a further headache to the shipyards’ liquidity, as the final payments in these cases may be delayed.”
Among the collapsed shipbuilders is South Korea’s STX Offshore & Shipbuilding, which filed for court protection in May. No country is more dependent on shipbuilding than South Korea: it accounted for 7.1% of manufacturing jobs in 2015.
Korea’s Big Three – Hyundai Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, and Samsung Heavy Industries – have been dumping noncore assets and shedding employees as part of prior creditor-led restructuring plans.
Even that wasn’t enough. At the end of October, the government announced a bailout plan: it would order 250 vessels through 2020, valued at $9.6 billion, but they’ll be smaller ships and boats, not the big, former money-makers that these shipyards really need.
That may not be enough either. On November 15, Hyundai Heavy announced it would sell its non-shipbuilding businesses, including utilities, construction equipment manufacturing, and robotics, to get out from under its suffocating load of debt. Samsung Heavy said it would lay off 30% to 40% of its 14,000 employees by 2018. Daewoo Shipbuilding said it would lay off 20% of its employees by 2020.
(57 days ago)
There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion.
The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.
Ludwig von Mises
(53 days ago)
Global Trade is falling significantly....