News: Hong Kong-based shipping services provider Pacific Basin Shipping has engaged the services of US financial services provider Citigroup to oversee the sale of its Australian units, according to the Hellenic Shipping News. The Australian units up for sale include the PB Towage and PB Sea Tow businesses. The sale of the two units has been projected to generate up to US$476mn. The sale comes as part of the firm ' s effort to refocus its energies on the dry bulk market.
BMI View: We are forecasting that a slowdown in private consumption will be the main drag on Australian shipping growth in the coming quarters, as job losses rise on the back of businesses cutting costs, triggering the beginning of household debt deleveraging. In line with our expectations for the Australian economy to struggle in 2013, real GDP growth in the first quarter of 2013 slowed to 2.2% quarter-on-quarter in seasonally adjusted annualised terms, compared with 2.3% in Q4 2012. Together with our expectations for tepid export growth, we maintain our expectations for Australia's GDP growth to slow to 2.1% in 2013 compared with consensus expectations of 2.6% and 3.7% growth in 2012.