Greek shipping magnate John Angelicoussis expects President-elect Donald Trump to generate new business for the ailing shipping industry through infrastructure spending and increased energy production.
"There is no question that he is going to be positive for shipping in terms of infrastructure expansion. The U.S. needs a hell of a lot of infrastructure,"Mr. Angelicoussis told The Wall Street Journal in a rare interview.
Mr. Angelicoussis has three separate companies operating a fleet of 133 supertankers, dry bulk vessels and liquefied-natural-gas carriers, worth around $6.9, billion, the world's sixth largest in terms of value, according to maritime data provider VesselsValue.
Most of the ships are chartered to oil and commodity majors including Exxon Mobil Corp., BHP Billiton Ltd. and Cargill Corp. The billionaire has been the top buyer of dry bulk vessels over the past year and also splashed $1 billion for eight crude oil and LNG tankers in June.
Mr. Trump has vowed to pump billions into projects to upgrade U.S. infrastructure. But his pledge to tear up global trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership could cause pain for shipping industry at a time when global trade is forecast to grow by just 1.7% this year, marking the slowest pace since the 2008 financial crisis, according the World Trade Organization.
Mr. Angelicoussis hopes Mr. Trump won't engage in a trade war with China. "Shipping lives off China," he said. "There will be no winners in a trade war. We should leave them alone and continue to trade." Since Mr. Trump's election, the Baltic Dry Index, a measure of the cost to ship raw materials like cement, copper and iron ore, has risen steadily, closing Thursday at a 23-month high.
Mr. Angelicoussis said Mr. Trump's promise to boost oil drilling and tackle export regulations will benefit his tanker business with ships bringing in heavy fuel for the U.S. market and shipping out lighter fuel to export markets. "There will be far more activity in oil and gas," he said.
Mr. Angelicoussis said he expects the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to reach an agreement to cut production at their Nov. 30 meeting.
"Brent is low at around $46 [per barrel] because most expect no agreement," he said. "But I think there will be one because OPEC needs it. A price of $50 to $60 is good for the Arabs because they can make money, but not overdo it."
At that price he predicts China and India will continue building their oil reserves, saying China wants to double its 250 million barrels and India seeks to substantially boost its 100 million barrels in reserve.
Write to Costas Paris at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 18, 2016 10:25 ET (15:25 GMT)
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