May 6 - According to Moore Stephens' latest Shipping Confidence Survey, the average confidence level for the shipping industry hit its lowest level for two-and-a-half years.

Overall confidence for the quarter ended February 2015 slipped to 5.5 out of 10, down from 5.7 in the previous quarter.

The likelihood of respondents making a major investment over the next year was down from 5.3 to 5.1 out of 10.

Demand trends, competition and tonnage supply were considered to be the top three factors likely to influence performance significantly over the coming year. 32 percent of respondents, the lowest level ever recorded in the life of the survey, expected finance costs to increase.