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Strengthening global growth could be derailed by a range of factors this year, including the coronavirus outbreak and a further escalation of trade tensions across the world.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised down its predictions for global growth in 2019 and 2020. It forecasts growth to be 3.5% in 2019 and 3.6% in 2020. This means a dampening of global growth over the next two years, as growth in 2018 is estimated to be 3.7% The slowdown will affect both advanced and emerging economies.
BIMCO has proposed that the Fourth International Maritime Organization (IMO) Greenhouse Gas Study does not include unrealistically high gross domestic product (GDP) growth projections to predict future transport demand - and thereby emissions - of the shipping industry. The proposal has been made to the expert workshop preparing for the study, which is meeting in London 12-14 March.
Starting a trade war is bad for everyone, and shipping is right in the eye of the storm. Adding a new sanctions regime involving the US and Iran is putting another layer of stress on a shipping industry that is struggling to generate profits. Not surprisingly, the IMF’s estimate for world trade volumes was adjusted downwards for both 2018 and 2019 in July.
GDP growth and high trade multipliers have benefitted the shipping industry through higher trade volumes, but this could be as good as it gets.