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Nippon Yusen K.K. and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. forecast profits this year as a global economic rebound revives container and commodity-shipping rates.

Nippon Yusen, Japan’s largest shipping line by sales, predicted net income of ¥35 billion in the year ending next March, compared with a loss of ¥17.4 billion last fiscal year, in a statement Tuesday. K-Line, the nation’s third-largest shipping line, forecast a profit of ¥18 billion compared with a ¥68.7 billion loss.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. also reiterated that it expects profit to jump more than fourfold to ¥60 billion on demand for shipments of raw materials and finished goods.

Container lines will win a targeted increase in Asia-U.S. rates in annual contracts starting around next month, according to China Cosco Holdings Co., as U.S. consumers resume purchases of Asian-made toys, furniture and electronics.

“Shipping lines will be buoyed by the global economy,” said Yasuhiro Matsumoto, an analyst at Shinsei Securities Co. “China’s demand for iron ore will also boost profits.”

The global economy will expand 4.2 percent in 2010, the fastest pace since 2007, as emerging countries including China and India lead the world out of its worst recession since World War II, the International Monetary Fund said last week. The world economy contracted 0.6 percent in 2009, the IMF said.

The trade rebound, capacity cuts and cooperation are helping container lines raise rates after price wars and falling demand caused industrywide losses last year. The Transpacific Stabilization Agreement, a group of 15 lines including Nippon Yusen and K-Line, is seeking an $800 per 40-foot (12 meters) box rate increase on Asia-U.S. West Coast routes in new contracts.

China Cosco and China Shipping Container Lines Co., the nation’s two biggest container lines, both said last week they expect the higher rates to be accepted. The increase will make the route profitable again, said China Shipping Chairman Li Shaode.

Mitsui O.S.K., Japan’s biggest operator of dry-bulk ships, made a ¥12.7 billion profit last fiscal year as it benefited from higher commodity-shipping rates.

The Baltic Dry index, a measure of dry-bulk shipping rates, almost doubled last quarter from a year earlier on demand for iron ore in China and other countries. The index averaged 3,027 points in the three months ended March, compared with 1,562 a year earlier.

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