“Spot rates are off to a slower start in 2023 across most shipping segments,” conceded Jefferies analyst Omar Nokta in his new quarterly outlook. “The ingredients are in place, however, for a recovery in the coming months, especially post-Lunar New Year.”
That’s the “glass-half-full” view for bulk commodity shipping: Rates are down due to normal seasonality combined with an earlier than usual Lunar New Year holiday and the transient effect of China’s new COVID-19 policy. An upswing will follow.
The “glass-half-empty” view: Beyond seasonality, the across-the-board rate weakness in ocean shipping points to worsening recessionary pressures around the globe, and the “China reopening” sales pitch is overblown.