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Monday, September 7, 2009

Interesting times in world shipping

Theres lots of things happening out there in the big wide world of finance, commodities and shipping markets.

Interesting state of play. It seems that the worlds economies have staved of the next great depression. The stimulus packagaes have worked and the bottom line is that the worlds credit markets are crawling out of hiding ready to play ball once again.

If we cast our minds back to the early 1930's (I know some of you were there!) the most notable reason given for the great depression was that panic led to protectionism - protectionism based fear meant the financial markets tightened and credit dried up - this led to a masisve snoball effect and the world shut up shop!

So the key to the current climate has been that the stimulus has been linked to freeing the credit markets - and thus the good position we seem to be in now!

BUT BUT BUT - have we won on a technicality? Are the fundemantal problems still there?

1. Too much debt
2. Bad financial corporate governance
3. Asset bubbles

Who knows? The financial markets are much different entities then they once were so historical economic ratios (of value and risk) have been turned on there heads.

Its a bit like the the 100 meter world record currently held by Usain Bolt. In 1916 the worlds fastest time was 10.6 seconds. 1960 became 10 seconds and now Usain canters in at 9.58 seconds. Whilst nothing appears to have changed over that time ie 1 man - 100 meters - run like the wind, things have changed. Training techniques, the size of athletes, the growth in world populations, the emergence of African nations as superior fast twitch athletes etc etc...

Same with market economies. Nothing stays the same and what we though unachievable 60 years ago may be achievable now and that includes the new world economy based alot on credit, derivatives, and the ease by which nations can trade.

The backdrop of this is what seems to be our declining physical environment. We all need to be diligent and the shipping community has been a little slow in reacting to climate change and co2 emmissions.

Shipping sofar is not part of the kyoto protocol but movement is afoot to rectify this.

Check out this interesting article from last years "daily telegraph" for a greater explanation of the issues that the shipping fraternity face.



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