One of the most characteristic developments in 2015 was the declining price of crude oil during the second half of the year. Brent crude oil dropped from USD 57 a barrel (bbl.) on 1 July to hit USD 37 a bbl. on the last trading day in 2015.
Overall, container volumes being moved around the world have grown by an average GDP-to-trade multiplier of just 1.1 since 2010 and we expect this to continue in coming years. With IMF expecting GDP growth of 3.4% in 2016, this translates into container demand of 3.5-4%.
The global production of steel dropped in 2015 compared to 2014, to a larger extent outside China, as China exported its surplus of steel to destinations across the globe; it is too complex to single out whether this is positive or negative for the seaborne dry bulk transport demand.
2016 continues where 2015 ended, with all eyes on China. This is mainly because of uncertainty surrounding the development of the world’s second-largest economy. When the first day of the Shanghai Stock Exchange of 2016 closed prematurely, the trading results echoed around the world. It warned us that we are in for a rough ride in 2016.
2015 never really took off, even though the global economic activity looked stronger earlier in the year. The negative indicators seen at the end of 2014 were not overcome, and we saw a significantly lower level of growth for global GDP in 2015 than in the previous five years. This was primarily due to the struggling emerging markets and developing economies, led by changes in China’s economic focus.