Liners can't get paid,news by Hebei Longsheng

Plenty of Trade, Liners Can’t Get Paid
Container rates on China outbound routes have fallen for 10 of the last 13 weeks, with a 4% decline in September to the lowest since April 14th. That came despite a marked improvement in international trade volumes in the past three months. It may reflect concerns about rising capacity shown in recent data for shipbuilding deliveries and orders. Pacific basin rates did better than others, with South Korean rates rising 5%, and west-coast U.S. rates doing better than east-coast (3% lower vs. a 5% drop).

Notably South American rates slumped 14% in the month, perhaps reflecting a restructuring of routes ahead of the completion of Maersk’s purchase of Hamburg Sud. Average rates for the third quarter were actually better overall – with a 2% rise sequentially and 22% annually – but investors and analysts may look through that given recent weakness.

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South Korea’s Surge Will Be Red Rag To Trump’s Bull
South Korea’s export surge continued in September, with exports jumping 35% on a year earlier to a new record. That outpaced import growth for a third month with the result that the country’s trade surplus also reached a new record. A weaker currency helped, but demand for South Korea’s products across Asia – especially China – remained strong. Consumer demand for electronics likely drove the 70% rise in semiconductor exports, while protectionist fears and higher input costs may be the reason behind a 107% boom in steel shipments.

Exports to the U.S. climbed 29%, compared to a slide of 2% as recently as June. As a result the trade surplus vs. America reached $2.6 billion, the highest since March 2016. With KORUS talks starting on October 4, and the Trump administration’s main focus being the trade surplus, these figures couldn’t come at a worse time. A withdrawal from KORUS by the U.S. should not be ruled out given recent reports of the administration’s negotiating stance.

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