January 13 - Substantial falls in steel plate prices could produce the first decline in the cost of newbuildings since 2004.

The cost of some ship types are forecast to fall by as much as one fifth this year as a result of depressed ordering activity and cheaper steel costs, according to industry analysts.

Rikard Vabo, an analyst with Norwegian investment bank Fearnley Fonds, considers that a fall in steel plate prices, in combination with a complete standstill in new ordering, order cancellations and increased competition, will result in a significant decline in newbuilding prices. He considers newbuilding prices could fall 20-30 0n 2009