Container Shipping Market Sentiments Improve as Peak Season Approaches
Container xChange, an online container logistics platform, published its August Container Market Forecaster today. Despite the ongoing market fluctuations, the Container Price Sentiment Index (xCPSI) has exhibited resilience and witnessed growth in July as compared to the month of June.
The forecaster also noted that container prices have been relatively stable over the past 30 days (July) as compared to the previous 90 days (May-July).
The Container Price Sentiment Index (xCPSI) conducts market surveys concurrently and distils industry experts' collective insights about container price trends into a quantitative measure, providing insight into near-future expectations for the container market dynamics.
In July, 2,570 supply chain professionals participated in the survey.
While the opinion is varied, still most respondents (42%) foresee an increase in container prices in the near-term which is indicative of potential market improvement, 28% foresee a further decline in container prices, suggesting a certain degree of pessimism in market conditions.
30% of those surveyed maintained that prices would remain unchanged.
This growth in sentiment underscores the industry's anticipation of an imminent turnaround, contributing a sense of positivity to the landscape.
Container Industry Stabilizing Amidst Market Fluctuations
Average container prices have been relatively stable in the last 30 days as compared to the price volatility over the past 90 days (30 days – July, 90 days – May-July).
Analyzing a 30-day price delta comparison across key regions, the market has witnessed average price fluctuations ranging from -4% to +5.20% in the month of July 2023.
However, the container prices have experienced a visible dip over a 90-day period, with Southeast Asia reporting a substantial -15.73% decline from May to July 2023.
Despite this sustained dip, the sentiment index has stayed strong, even growing in July.
The alignment of sentiment and pricing trends suggests an industry outlook that foresees a turning point, shifting away from skepticism towards a shared anticipation of market recovery despite ongoing price adjustments.
Asian ports have been witnessing steady changes in average container prices for 40 HC cargo-worthy containers. For shippers, engaging in container trading or leasing within Southeast Asia at present, compared to three months prior or even just one month ago, presents a viable business prospect.
Carrier Capacity Management Spur Intra-Asia Trade Surge
According to Fitch Ratings, in the second quarter of 2023, China witnessed a 6% year on year increase in total container throughput, a significant improvement compared to 3% growth in first quarter of 2023.
This expansion was primarily propelled by intensification of trade under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), introduction of new foreign trade routes at the Dalian port, and upward trajectory of trade with nations participating in the Belt and Road Initiative.
A surge in demand for containers on Intra Asia trade lanes was observed on the platform, for example, the China to India stretch was popular in the month of July on Container xChange.
Indications from Drewry point towards Asia's entry into a peak season, resulting in a notable 42% surge in the Shanghai-Los Angeles spot rate over a four-week period concluding on August 3rd. Simultaneously, the Drewry Shanghai-Rotterdam index also saw a 20% upswing within the same duration.
Due to increased trade between India and the wider Asian region, ocean carriers are adding more capacity on the Intra-Asia trade route. This is also propelled by the sourcing diversification strategy in South Asia, particularly in countries like Vietnam and India.
The aim is to increase shipment volumes and improve market presence. These changes in strategy allow these companies to optimise their operations and potentially strengthen their market position. This is important in a dynamic and competitive shipping industry.