Remember, it was almost yesterday. An explosion in the prices of containers and the ships that transport them; ships queuing in crowded ports; Coca-Cola forced to charter its own bulk carriers: A few months ago, the strong global economic and industrial recovery after the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic plunged the world into an unprecedented logistics crisis.
Good news: As Bloomberg pointed out on Sunday, October 9, things are getting back to normal and supply chains could regain their composure in the first few months of 2023. Bad news: As the Financial Times explains, this is not good news for the world. economy.
Waiting times at major world ports are decreasing. Transport capacities increase and prices fall. As measured by the Federal Reserve, the pressure on supply chains has already returned to its level at the end of 2020 and inflation is mainly due to the energy shock caused by Russia.
But then, where does the shoe squeeze? According to Alan Beattie, who analyzes these phenomena for the British newspaper in a column entitled “Trade Secrets”, the crisis was transitory in nature, in particular caused by strong demand for specific goods during the lockdowns and after they were lifted.
And if things are balanced, it is not because massive investments have been made in global transport, particularly maritime, but because this demand is collapsing. If things are going better it is because they are going to go wrong and the world is already preparing for the coming recession – as other indicators also show, the price of copper for example.
This is also in line with what the World Trade Organization (WTO) predicts: on October 5 it revised its world trade growth figures for 2023 to +1%, compared to +3.4% previously calculated.
Strict policy of the central banks and in the first place of the American Fed; energy shock and increased production costs; zero Covid policy mercilessly for the economy in China; The rise of the dollar puts emerging countries in great trouble: everything, according to the WTO, is lining up so that the economy slows down. So that demand stagnates or declines, and that maritime transport is less overwhelmed.
Sailing from one extreme to the other, the world seems unable to choose and the next few months are likely to be difficult.