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MARKET OVERVIEW


The credit crisis remained particularly severe throughout the year, with the spectre of debt default emerging as a real possibility for a number of Eurozone countries and a double-dip recession on the horizon. But UK shipping has continued to be resilient.


Few economic pundits can look back at their forecasts for 2011 with any degree of satisfaction – most were simply too optimistic. The recession was severe, with worries about debt default for several Eurozone countries. Allied to this we have seen European economies flirting with double-dip recession and a stuttering US revival. What little good news that was to be found, certainly in terms of trade and economic growth, again came from the emerging economies of Asia and South America. According to a report by Euromonitor International,


global growth in 2011 was widely expected to be around 4.2 per cent, down from 4.7 per cent in 2010. It did indeed slow, but by significantly more than anticipated to 3.9 per cent. Real GDP growth in the advanced economies suffered even more and is


6 MARKET OVERVIEW


expected to be only 1.6 per cent against a forecast of 2.2 per cent. Emerging / developing countries, however, should come out on forecast at some 6.3 per cent. Oil prices remain high with Brent crude oil starting


the year at $100 per barrel and, following a spike in April stemming from political and social unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, settling down to end the year close to its 2011 average of $111 per barrel. Unemployment has proved to be a particularly


intractable problem and – in the advanced economies – is providing an additional brake on fledgling recoveries. As the economic outlook has worsened during the latter part of 2011, the suggestion is that for those economies it may be 2018 before employment returns to pre-recession levels.


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