On the other hand, owners' confidence increased from 6.6 to 6.8, while an overall rating for all respondents reached of 6.8 out of 10.0.

GET THE SAFETY4SEA IN YOUR INBOX!

Charterers' confidence also increased from 6.7 to 7.0, the highest level for nine months. The rating for managers, however, reduced from 6.7 to 6.2, and for brokers from 6.3 to 4.9. Confidence in Asia rose from 6.1 to 6.3.

The likelihood of respondents to make a big investment or significant development over the next 12 months increased from 5.2 to 5.5 out of 10.0. Owners' confidence was up from 5.5 to 6.5, but charterers were down from 6.7 to 4.0. Expectations of major investments were up in both Asia and Europe.

The number of respondents who expected finance costs to rise over the coming year reduced to 59% from 63% last time. Owners and charterers expected such costs to increase, but managers and brokers believed the opposite.

The number of respondents expecting higher rates over the next 12 months in the tanker trades was up by 3% points to 53%. In the dry bulk sector, there was a 16% fall, to 38%, while the numbers expecting higher container ship rates fell from 43% to 26%.

What is more, regarding the tariffs, 44% of respondents said they expected tariff wars to have 'some' impact on the industry over the next 12 months. Meanwhile, 42% categorised such impact as 'considerable,' and 11% felt that it would be 'minimal'.

Richard Greiner, Partner, Shipping & Transport, stated:

Concerns about geopolitical factors dominated the comments from respondents. These were led by President Trump’s efforts to transform US trade relations, but also included state support for shipping in China and South Korea. Shipping will always stand to reap the benefits of its global identity and presence, but will also court the risks that this must inevitably embrace.