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Market round-up: Lower coal imports hurt business at ports

Activity at major Indian ports was dull in the first five months of fiscal year 2018 (FY18). Cargo volumes handled grew a mere 3% due to the steep 12% decline in coal volumes. Interestingly, coal volumes had fallen in FY17 too. However, through this period, iron ore fared well supported by the resumption of mining in Goa, Karnataka and Odisha. Lower volumes and lower margins may put ports in a tight spot. According to Icra Ltd, in spite of the keen interest by the government, resolution of some pending tariff issues and faster resolution of connectivity-related issues are key to future growth of the sector. Otherwise, margins of non-major ports may be hit badly as competition increases with falling volumes.

The stock market that shrank this decade

Australia’s economy has grown faster than its developed-world peers over the past decade, uniquely avoiding a recession. That means its stock market has grown handsomely too, right? Wrong. It’s actually smaller today than it was on the eve of the global financial crisis, in 2007. In that period, the US stock market’s capitalization has grown by more than $9 trillion. Closer to home, Australia’s market has been surpassed by Asia-Pacific peers South Korea and India. Not only is the contraction a disconnect with the economy, it also stands against an expanding pool of pension-fund capital, which has opted instead to invest abroad. Behind the contrast lies a corporate structure that favours oligopolies in retailing and finance in what ultimately is a nation with a small population. Also helping explain the decline is an appetite among foreign firms to buy Australian businesses, removing their Sydney listings.

Source: Bloomberg



Second-hand ship sales boost recovery hopes

The global shipping industry, which is beset with excess capacities, is trudging towards a rebalancing path. According to Clarksons Research, 2017 is shaping up to be a record year for second-hand sales of ships. With new shipbuilding activity already at historically low levels, the ratio of second-hand to new-build activity has surged, indicating a rebalance of the industry fundamentals, adds Clarksons Research. “With overall investment volumes down, and a higher proportion of that which has been seen taking place in the second-hand arena, there could be an interesting pointer for the future. The volume of new tonnage due for delivery over the next few years will be more limited, further restraining fleet growth. In this regard, the currently high ratio featured here might be interpreted as a leading indication of market rebalancing to come,” Clarksons Research said in a blog.

Source: Live Mint

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