In December 2013, in a sign of robust global trade driving demand for container ships, the Baltic Dry Index peaked at 2,330. By July 2014, rates had collapsed to 730. Today, rates have fallen to 471, the lowest since the recession began (in fact, the lowest ever). The BDI is a leading indicator pointing to worse trade conditions. Just as the 2014 collapse in the BDI reflected a collapse in global trade, the recent erosion in the BDI signals further trade weakness to come. Here's a snapshot of the meltdown.. and the pain is getting worse.