From exuberant escape velocity 'expansion' hopes and dreams in June, to 'slowing' in September, and 'drastic downward revisions' in early October, the Goldman Sachs Global Leading Indicator has had a very troubled recent past (as QE is just 4 POMOs away from coming to an end). But nothing could prepare the avid reader for what happened to the infamous Goldman "swirlogram" this month - an epic, total collapse. As Goldman 'politely' notes, "the October Advanced reading places the global cycle deeper in the ‘Slowdown’ phase, with momentum (barely) positive and declining."
Shipping freight rates for transporting containers from ports in Asia to Northern Europe - the world's busiest route - fell 10.2% to $738 per container in the week ended on Friday, according to Reuters. This is the 4th weekly drop in a row and is the lowest level since Oct 25th 2013. Confirming this global trade volume collapse, the Baltic Dry tumbled back below $1000, down 50% from a year ago, and is hovering once again at post-Lehman crisis lows. But apart from that, the global economy is doing great...
Unlike the QE-lite-driven exuberance in Chinese stocks of the last few weeks (which faded dramatically overnight), China's industrial commodities (with near-record inventories) and seeing prices collapse. This may shock some who espy PMIs and government-created trade data and proclaim, China is fixed. In fact, as JPMorgan's China Sentiment Index (JSI) shows, things are anything but bright as it fell to the lowest since June last year (at 48.3 in August). Sales and margins are tumbling - despite supposedly lower input costs. Lastly, those focused on spot Yuan movements (strength in recent weeks) have suggested this also confirms China strength - inflows - but looking out 12-months shows the market is expecting a dramatic devaluation from current levels in the Chinese currency is coming.
There is much hope pinned on continuing economic recovery in the United States despite a deterioration of the global economy virtually everywhere else. While it was not surprising to see a bounce back in activity after a contractionary first quarter, there are several economic data points that suggest that sustainability of the bounce is unlikely. Expectations are very likely well ahead of reality at the current time. This increases the risk of disappointment in the months and quarters ahead which could be a negative for the markets.
As long as people remain obsessed with false paradigms and faux enemies, the establishment's goal of complete centralized dominance will be predictably attainable. If we change our focus to the internationalists as the true danger instead of playing their game by their rules, then things will become far more interesting...
The bulls will ignore it, shrugging that it's merely over-supply of ships that the resurgent world economy will quickly soak up as it 'recovers'... However, World GDP growth expectations are collapsing, trade volumes are slowing, and the Baltic Dry Index has continued to slump to its lowest since the start of January 2013 (a holiday period). For some context, this is the lowest July level for the Baltic Dry since 1986... "noise"
Goldman's June Final GLI came in at 3.1% year-over-year, down from the revised 3.3% year-over-year reading in May. Momentum came in at 0.15% month-over-month - flat from last month’s revised reading. Ever optimistic, Goldman views this results, as continuing to locate the global industrial cycle close to the ‘Expansion’ phase but has yet to signal positive acceleration... oh so close... The 3 big drivers of the deterioration were Japan's Inventory/Sales ratio worsened, US Initial Jobless Claims were marginally higher, and as we have been vociferously noting, The Baltic Dry Index continued to come in softer as well.
The Baltic Dry Index - so admired when it is soaring and supportive of all things great and good about credit creation and rehypothecation - has collapsed over 60% year-to-date. At $867, the index is at one-year lows and hovering near post-crisis lows as the hope-strewn surge of last year now lies torn asunder by the reality of China commodity ponzi probes and a 'real' slowing global economy. Of course, we will hear the echo chamber of 'over-supply' of ships rather than any 'under-demand' of actual aggregate product argument but the circularity of this argument is entirely lost on status quo huggers who viewed rising dry bulk commodity prices as indicative of growth (and built more ships) as opposed to the ponzi-financing scheme it really was... mal-investment writ large once again in a manipulated (and mismanaged) world.
At 906, the Baltic Dry Index slumped to 12-month lows showing absolutely no signs whatsoever of the Q2 renaissance in global growth that has been heralded by all the highly-paid meteoroconomists. In fact, thanks to increasing fears over China's commodity financing ponzi scheme, this is the worst year for the Baltic Dry on record. Of course, we will hear the echo chamber of 'over-supply' of ships rather than any 'under-demand' of actual aggregate product argument but the circularity of this argument is entirely lost on status quo huggers who viewed rising dry bulk commodity prices as indicative of growth (and built more ships) as opposed to the ponzi-financing scheme it really was... mal-investment writ large once again in a manipulated (and mismanaged) world.
There is much hope that after a dismal Q1 GDP report of -1% annualized growth in the domestic economy, that Q2 will see a sharp rebound of between 3-4% according to the bulk of economists. The Federal Reserve is predicting that the U.S. economy will grow as strongly as 2.8% in real terms for the entirety of 2014. The achievement of the Fed's rather lofty goal would require a real 4% annualized growth in each of the next three quarters. The problem with this assumption is that the last time that the U.S. economy grew at 4% or more, over three consecutive quarters, was in 1983.
If ever there was a better indication of the malinvestment boom created by an interfering Fed, this is it. As demand for shipping collapses on real slowing in the global economy - markets have "told" shipbuilders to "build it and they will come"... here is a ship-shipping ship, shipping shipping ships.
"Marubeni [the world's largest soybean exporter to China] is deluded in thinking that payments will come once the cargoes have sailed," is the message from an increasing number of liquidity-strapped Chinese firms, "If they take these cargoes, some could go bankrupt. That's why they choose not to honor the contracts." As we explained in great detail here, this is the transmission mechanism by which China's commodity-financing catastrophe spreads contagiously to the rest of the world. A glance at the Baltic Dry is one indication of the global nature of the problem (and Genco Shipping's $1 billion bankruptcy), but as Reuters reports, "If buyers cannot resolve the issue, they may also cancel future shipments."
At $3.67, US Regular gasoline prices are their highest since March 2013 having risen over 12% (40c) in the last 2 months. This must be great news, right? It must mean world demand is picking up and driving up prices of crude oil as global trade soars (amid a collapsing Baltic Dry and decelerating Chinese growth). This can't be related to "war premia" right? - as we noted here - because stocks (which always know best) have discounted all this tomfoolery. However, as the following chart shows, each time gas prices have surged up toards the Maginot Line of $3.80, US macro-economic fundamentals have collapsed... the only problem is, this time is different - because macro data is already weak going in (and expectations for the post-weather pop are high).
And still the mainstream media's discussion of the collapse in the Baltic Dry shipping index is entirely absent. As we have been pointing out for weeks now, something extreme is occurring in the cost of shipping dry bulk around the world. 2014 is now witnessing the biggest drop in price (a typical seasonal pattern) to start the year since records began. Today's drop to $989 (the first time below $1000 since June 2013) is the 15th drop in a row and it's not just this index that is fading: Capesize, Panamax, and Supramax rates are all falling. As we noted previously, the shipbuilding industry is already feeling the pain.
The silence is deafening still about the ongoing collapse in the Baltic Dry Index among mainstream media types (as it just might challenge the hope/hype that growth is coming back). At the dismal level of 1002, BDIY is at 8-month lows and has fallen 14 days in a row... but now it is having a real world impact. As Sea News reports, Korean shipping companies are failing to place orders for large vessels and anxiety over the future is forcing some local companies to dispose of their assets despite the relatively low shipbuilding costs as of late.