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During the first eight months of 2023, contracting of product tanker newbuilds hit a 10-year high, reaching 140 ships and 10.72 million deadweight tonnes (DWT). The last time more than 10 million DWT were contracted from January through August was in 2013.
During the first eight months of 2023, US dirty tanker export demand increased 33% year-on-year while the global dirty tanker exports increased only 5%. Measured in deadweight tonne miles, US exports now account for 14% of global dirty tanker demand.
Global rice exports could fall by at least 4% in 2023 because of India’s restrictions on exports and El Niño’s impact on supply. Replacing India’s rice exports is challenging, as India accounts for almost 40% of the world’s export of rice. Low rainfall caused by El Niño is also weakening the outlook for global rice exports in 2024.
Driven by continued growth in minor ore demand in China, global seaborne minor ore exports rose 7% y/y in the first seven months of 2023, vastly outpacing the 2% y/y growth in overall dry bulk exports.
Deliveries of new container ships during the first seven months of the year reached a new record high of 1.2 million TEU in 2023, beating the previous record by 0.2 million TEU. As recycling of ships has remained low, the fleet capacity has grown 4.3% since January.
Russian seaborne crude oil export volumes have remained strong and grew 13% y/y in 2022 despite the invasion of Ukraine. However, after a 4% m/m fall in June, volumes fell another 16% m/m in July, and the Russian administration has announced export cuts for August.
The product tanker orderbook to fleet ratio has surged from 5.4% in December 2022 to 9.3% in June 2023, driven by a remarkable 337% y/y rise in contracting during the first half of this year. A spike in freight rates and product tanker demand is likely behind the surge in contracting.
US soybean, maize, and wheat exports could fall 15% in 2023 due to droughts that affected harvests last year. However, the upcoming maize harvest may drive a recovery in US grain shipments from the fourth quarter onwards.
Despite China’s strategy of pursuing increased domestic coal production, which has meant that year-to-date production stands 5.8% higher than last year, its seaborne imports of coal have nevertheless surged 73% y/y so far.
By agreeing to an additional voluntary production cut within OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) of 500,000 barrels per day in May and announcing a further independent production cut of 1,000,000 barrels per day in July, Saudi Arabia is aiming to reduce excess supply and support prices.