China’s container trade hindered by supply-demand imbalance


“The management of the Red Sea crisis has alleviated concerns of sudden container price rises, providing a more predictable environment”

China’s container trade hindered by supply-demand imbalance
Shenzhen Port

Container xChange, an online platform for container trading and leasing, has unveiled its latest market update focusing on China’s container price trends.

Despite anticipation for price drops following the Chinese New Year, there’s a notable disparity between buyer and seller expectations, creating a demand deficit.

“There is a significant imbalance between supply and demand price expectations for containers. Buyers are expecting price reductions in weeks to come, while sellers are holding off the inventory as they expect prices to remain stable due to tight capacity, especially after the diversions due to the Red Sea and highly imbalanced trade, particularly, for example from China into Russia,” Christian Roeloffs, cofounder and CEO of Container xChange commented.

Exports from China to Russia surged by 12.5%, with imports rising by 6.7% in the initial months of 2024. However, data from Container xChange’s market intelligence team highlights an oversupply of units in Russia, contributing to saturated capacity in the region.

This oversupply hasn’t spurred significant price drops, fostering cautiousness among traders and sellers, gradually filling up depots. Despite depot pressures, there’s reluctance from both sides to adjust price expectations drastically.

The Container Price Sentiment Index (xCPSI), Container xChange’s proprietary tool, reflects buyer sentiments for further price declines, dropping from a record 83 points in late January ’24 to 22 points by March 14, 2024.

Additionally, the market is experiencing a demand lull, driving the current scenario purely on economic fundamentals.

Freight rates have decreased by approximately 8.41% from February 23 to March 8, 2024, indicating a more balanced market without significant price increases in March.

“Looking ahead,” Christian Reoloffs continued, “while mid to long-term forecasts suggest a necessary adjustment in prices to restore liquidity, the present market sentiment indicates a reluctance to anticipate significant price drops.”

“The decline in freight rates and the steady container prices suggest that demand is under pressure. Additionally, the management of the Red Sea crisis has alleviated concerns of sudden container price rises, providing a more predictable environment for freight forwarders and stakeholders,” Reoloffs concluded.

Read the full Container xChange article HERE.

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