By Clarence Leong
Cosco Shipping Holdings Co.'s shares jumped to their highest level in more than a decade on Thursday, extending steep gains this year on expectations of high container-shipping rates amid strong demand and a lingering ship bottleneck in southern China.
Cosco's Hong Kong-listed shares on Thursday surged by as much as 14% to above HK$19, a level last seen in 2008. The stock has risen by more than eightfold in the past 12 months. The company's Shanghai-listed shares hit their daily maximum limit, rising 10% to CNY25.03.
Ports in southern China have faced worsening congestion in recent weeks as authorities imposed stricter Covid-19 measures after detecting asymptomatic cases of the virus in the region.
Shipping giant A.P. Moeller-Maersk AS said recently that it expects delays of two weeks or more at China's Yantian port, while growing ship bottlenecks could delay the arrival of tens of thousands of containers destined for North America.
Container spot rates have increased in nine out of the past 10 weeks, according to a recent report by U.S. investment bank Jefferies, which added that the U.K. is also affected by a bottleneck.
Shipping rates may continue to set new records in the short term, CSC Financial said in a report Wednesday. The Chinese investment bank forecast Cosco's net profit to rise to 77.5 billion yuan ($12.13 billion) this year, more than seven times 2020 profit. CSC raised its target price on Cosco's A-shares to CNY38 from CNY28.
Other shipping companies' shares have also risen in afternoon Hong Kong trading. Orient Overseas (International) Ltd. is up 4.3%, taking year-to-date gains to 91%, while Pacific Basin Shipping was last 10% higher and more than doubling for the year.
Write to Clarence Leong at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires