Slumping shipping costs show exports to Europe from China are “falling off a cliff” as the euro-region crisis chokes off consumer spending, according to RS Platou Markets AS, a unit of Norway’s biggest shipbroking group.
The CHART OF THE DAY shows how the cost of hauling goods to Europe from China is falling faster than rates for deliveries to the U.S. The price for shipments to Europe is down 39 percent to $511 per twenty-foot box since Aug. 31, according to figures from Clarkson Securities Ltd., a unit of the world’s largest shipbroker. That’s more than double the 18 percent slide in the cost to the U.S. West Coast, measured in 40-foot units.
“European imports from China will be much, much lower going forward,” said Rahul Kapoor, a Singapore-based analyst at Platou Markets. “If you see falling freight rates, that would imply that European demand is falling off a cliff.”
Growth in euro-area economies will slow to 0.5 percent next year, compared with 2.2 percent expansion in the U.S., according to economists’ forecasts compiled by Bloomberg. Citigroup Inc. also cut its growth forecast for China today, partly citing the possibility of a European recession.
While shipping rates were affected earlier this year by an expansion of the fleet that plies the Europe-China route, stable capacity since August shows the latest drop is a result of weak demand, Kapoor said in an interview today. U.S. deliveries are faring better than those to Europe, he said. Kapoor’s company is a unit of RS Platou ASA, owner of RS Platou Shipbrokers.