- Language: English
- 38 Pages
- Published: January 2013
- Region: China
Australia Shipping Report Q1 2012
- Published: November 2011
- Region: Australia
- 56 Pages
- Business Monitor International
Business Monitor International's Australia Shipping Report provides industry professionals and strategists, corporate analysts, shipping associations, government departments and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on Australia's shipping industry.
Heading into 2012, the Port of Melbourne is set to retain its position ahead of the domestic competition in terms of container throughput, followed by second placed Sydney. In terms of tonnage throughput, the Port of Brisbane will lead the way in 2012, just slightly ahead of the port of Melbourne. This situation is set to change in 2014, according to BMI forecasts.
Australia's macroeconomic situation looks fairly similar to 2008, but with fewer options available to policymakers at home and abroad. Firstly, Australia's domestic demand is faltering under the weight of its mortgage debt burden (although the property bubble is even bigger, with rental yields and house price-toincome ratios at historic lows), with recent consumer confidence and retail sales figures suggesting that private consumption could be heading for recession territory. Secondly, China is facing a sharp slowdown owing to the hangover from its stimulus measures, and further policy efforts are constrained by inflation and a weak banking sector. Thirdly, Australia's reliance on hot money inflows is at an all-time high, and additional speculative
demand due to US quantitative easing seems unlikely at this stage.
With these factors in mind, BMI believes that Australia faces a sharp slowdown. BMI's forecast for 2012 real GDP growth of 1.6%, versus consensus expectations of 4.3%, clearly highlights BMI's bearish view. A Chinese hard landing, however, would likely result in more serious economic dislocations as explained below.
Headline Industry Data
- 2011 port of Melbourne tonnage throughput forecast to grow 6.60%.
- 2011 port of Melbourne container throughput forecast to rise 6.84%.
- 2011 port of Sydney tonnage throughput forecast to increase 5.51%.
- 2011 port of Sydney container throughput forecast to increase 4.80%.
- 2011 total trade growth forecast at 3.63%.
Key Industry Trends
Ongoing Industrial Disputes Testing For Australian Ports - Dockers at the container ports of Brisbane and Fremantle launched industrial action in October 2011 over a pay dispute. BMI notes that this was not the first time in 2011 that operations at the facilities had been disrupted by work stoppages, and this could lead to a further downwards revision of BMI's throughput forecasts for the ports.
Australia Shipping Reforms Set To Halt Decline Of National Fleet - In September 2011, it was reported that Australia's domestic shipping industry is set to benefit from government plans to overhaul the tax regime. It is hoped that tax reforms will halt the decline in Australia-registered vessels, encourage coastal shipping and create greater employment opportunities for Australian seafarers.
Drybulk Ports Witness Rise In Congestion Level - Major dry-bulk ports witnessed an increase in congestion levels for four consecutive weeks in September 2011, reported Fairplay. Waiting times at the ports' iron ore terminals registered a 12% rise, with a 15% increase at major coal ports. Meanwhile, Australian ore ports experienced a rise in average waiting times by two days to 6.5 days on a weekly basis, whereas the number of vessels at anchorage remained constant.
Risks To Outlook
On the macroeconomic upside, Australia's net government debt stands at a negligible 6.0% of GDP, putting the government in a unique position to support demand. While the Treasury expects to see its fiscal deficit head back to balance in FY2012/13 (July-June), and the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is expected to raise interest rates in 2012 rather than cut them, we believe these expectations are unrealistic. We are calling for a fiscal deficit of 1.5% of GDP in FY2012/13, and at least 25bps in interest rate cuts by the RBA as China's economy slows.
On the downside, an outright Chinese recession could see the government forced to balloon its balance sheet, while the RBA could join its Western counterparts in taking funding costs down towards zero. As with other developed nations in FY2008/09, these moves are unlikely to prevent a recession should support from China give way.
Also on the downside, Australian ports were being tested by industrial action at the time of writing. Pay disputes at the ports of Brisbane and Fremantle were launched in October 2011 and could adversely affect BMI's throughput forecasts for the ports. SHOW LESS READ MORE >
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