Investors Optimistic on Rising Freight Rates, Maersk Shares Rally

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January 2, 2013
maerskA.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S, owner of the world’s largest container line, rose the most in six weeks in Copenhagen trading on bets a deal on the U.S. budget and higher demand in Europe will push freight rates higher.

Maersk’s B shares jumped as much as 2 percent, the most since Nov. 19. The stock rose 1.8 percent to 43,360 kroner at 10:50 a.m. with volume at 19.1 percent of the three-month daily average. The gain outpaced a 1.2 percent advance in the Nasdaq OMX Copenhagen 20 index.

U.S. lawmakers passed a budget bill yesterday, averting spending cuts and tax increases that had threatened a recovery in the world’s largest economy. Container lines, including Copenhagen-based Maersk, are pushing for higher rates after cutting shipping capacity. The Shanghai Containerized Freight Index rose 5 percent in December, its first advance in six months, amid signs that global trade is picking up.

“We’re hopeful that the good strong shipments we’ve seen in December may continue into the new year,” Tim Smith, chief executive officer at Maersk Line’s North Asia unit, said today in a Bloomberg television interview. Higher demand in Europe for consumer goods is “enabling us to put our prices up a little bit,” he said.

Maersk Line had planned to increase rates on Asia-Europe trade by $550 per 20-foot container from Dec. 15. The company cut capacity on the route, its biggest, by about 21 percent last year amid a slowdown in demand. Global container orders probably would grow 3 percent in 2012, compared with an August forecast for 4 percent, Maersk said Nov. 9.

– Christian Wienberg, Copyright 2013 Bloomberg.
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