Wednesday, 18 July 12 SHIP PRICES HAVE FALLEN RAPIDLY THIS YEAR, FAVORING INVESTORS - NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU, HELLENIC SHIPPING
The price for a 5 year old Capesize dry bulk carrier of 172,000 dwt has fallen to about $33,4mil from $42.9 at the end of June 2011, while at end of June 2008 was more than $153 million. This comes to show how much ship prices have fallen in the past few years, which favors new investors in the business. On the other hand, it has caused major headaches among existing ship owners, especially those who invested at the end of the growth cycle, i.e. during the 2007-2008 period. They are now facing huge problems, as they have to provide added collaterals on bank who financed the purchase of those vessels. It's also one of the reasons that banks are reluctant to lend again to the shipping industry, which has been deemed as a risky one, as a result of these past "extravagance" of prices. This has caused some banks to become ship owners these days.
In its latest biannual report, Piraeus-based Golden Destiny noted that second hand vessel prices have plunged during the first half of 2012, mainly in the large sized segments, i.e. the Capesize and the Panamax one. In the panamax market, data from the Baltic Exchange shows that a 5 year old vessel of 52,000 dwt is now worth about $22 million, from $27.5 million at the end of June of 2011, while at the end of June of 2008, the cost for the same ship was more than $75 million.
The report also noted that "in the newbuilding market, similar sharp declines in prices offered by major yards are viewed with investors being more conservative in the placement of new contracts as the instability of the freight market and the challenge of oversupply with upcoming deliveries are creating uncertainty for strong newbuilding investments. A capesize unit of 186,300 dwt reported on order in February this year at Shanghai Waigaoqiao of China for a price in the region of $49,8mil, while at the end of May 2008, a capesize unit of 176,000 dwt had been reported on order at Chinese yard, Zhoushan Jinhawaian for a price about $88,5million" it noted.
This is one of the main reasons why ship owners have invested a fair amount of money in second hand vessel purchases during the first six months of the year, with a total of $6.1 billion for 555 vessels, despite the fall in freight rates. According to the report, second quarter buys were up 24% since the first quarter, while in total the first half of 2012 showed a decline of 9% compared to the same period of 2011, which is a remarkable feat, when considering the global economy uncertainty, the oversupply of tonnage in dry bulk and most other shipping markets and the lack of financing especially in Western Europe.
According to Golden Destiny, dry bulk carriers and tankers accounted for 33% and 26% of the total investment, while containers and liners follow with a 14% and 11% share respectively of the total S&P activity. The bulk carrier, gas tanker and container segments have shown a sharp revival in the volume of vessels reported to have changed hands from the previous quarter with a 31%, 44% and 39% increase respectively. The total amount of money invested for secondhand units this year is lower than the first half of 2011, 43% down, when 610 vessels had been reported to have changed hands at more than $10.7bn, with 103 sale and purchase transactions at an undisclosed sale price. The bulk carrier segment has shown a 31% increase with a total 105 vessels reported to have changed hands during April-June 2012 from 80 vessels in the first three months of the year, while a total of 185 vessels reported sold during the first half of the year at a total invested capital of more than $2.5bn, 11 sale and purchase transactions reported at an undisclosed contract price. “Amid the severe freight market status with capesizes struggling to cover their operating expenses and BDI crawling to remain above 1,000 points, investors haven’t lost their buying appetite by slowing their secondhand purchases only 6% down from the first half of 2011, when 196 bulk carriers changed hands at a total invested capital of more than $3.4billlion. The bulk carrier segment is the segment that posed the least downfall among other vessel categories in the purchase of secondhand units compared with the first half of 2011. Sources: Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping
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