China Shipping Rises After Return to Profit: Hong Kong Mover

China Shipping Container Lines Co., the nation’s second cargo-box carrier, rose the most in more than four months in Hong Kong trading after returning to profit in the third quarter.

China Shipping surged 9 percent to close at HK$2.07, the most since June 11. The Hang Seng Index gained 1 percent.

CSCL posted net income of 991 million yuan ($159 million) in the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with a loss of 951 million yuan a year earlier, the Shanghai-based company said in a statement yesterday. Container lines worked together to maintain rates above break-even levels in the period even as demand for goods from China falls amid Europe’s debt crisis.

“We remain positive on CSCL’s future earning thanks to the industry’s self-discipline,” Lawrence Li, an analyst at UOB Kay Hian Holdings Ltd., wrote in a report. “Cost pressure eased on lower bunker fuel prices” during the period, he said.

CSCL has improved freight rates, boosting Asia-Europe and Transpacific average rates by 85 percent year-on-year and 58 percent year-on-year respectively, according to Li.

Larger rival China Cosco Holdings Co., which also operates dry-bulk ships, narrowed its third-quarter loss to 1.53 billion yuan from 2.07 billion yuan.

The Tianjin, China-based shipping company said it may post a full-year net loss on “imbalances between supply and demand, low dry bulk freight rates” and higher costs.

China Cosco shares rose 4.9 percent to close at HK$3.85.

Container lines, including CSCL and China Cosco, have also agreed to raise rates on Asia-U.S. west coast routes by $400 per forty-foot box starting Dec. 1, according to a statement yesterday from the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement, a shipping group.

— With assistance by Alexandra Ho

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