Hanjin Shipping Co. (117930), South Korea’s largest shipping company, climbed to the highest level in three months in Seoul trading on expectations cargo rates may rise following a partnership on trade between Asia and Europe.
Hanjin Shipping advanced 8.9 percent to 11,650 won, the highest closing price since Sept. 23. STX Pan Ocean Co. (028670), South Korea’s largest commodities shipping company, rose 2.7 percent to 6,060 won.
Five Asian lines including Hanjin Shipping and Evergreen Line agreed yesterday to operate 12 weekly services to Europe from the second quarter. The agreement follows two other partnerships among rivals this month as overcapacity caused cargo rates to drop as much as 62 percent on the unprofitable route this year.
“Investors are betting that the recent cooperations between major shipping lines will help lift rates,” said Um Kyung A, an analyst at Shinyoung Securities Co. in Seoul. “It’s going to be very difficult for those left out.”
China Cosco Holdings Co. (1919), Yang Ming Line and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. are the three other shipping lines in the latest partnership.
Spot rates for hauling 20-foot cargo boxes to Europe from Asia fell 62 percent this year to $536 last week, according to the Shanghai Shipping Exchange. The break-even point on the route is at least $700, according to Morgan Stanley.
U.S. consumer confidence rose to an eight-month high in December, further fueling expectations that demand in the world’s largest market may help lift cargo rates, Um said. The Conference Board’s index increased to 64.5, the highest since April.
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