US Freight Volumes Fall For First Time In 3 Years As Baltic Dry Crashes Under 400

It was just two weeks ago when we highlighted a Morgan Stanley note which showed that US trucking has not been this bad since 2009. That revelation came on the heels of an abysmal November for Class 8 sales.

Trucking, apparently, is just another casualty of slumping trade, falling commodity prices, and mediocre, double-adjusted economic “growth.”

On Friday we get the latest sign that trade is grinding to a halt. 

"Freight volumes in the United States have fallen year on year for the first time since 2012 and before that the recession of 2009," Reuters reports, citing the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. "The total volume of freight moved by road, rail, pipeline, inland waterways and air cargo in November 2015 was 1.1 percent lower than in the corresponding month a year earlier."

Here's Reuters with the laundry list of concerns:

  • Coal shipments to power producers have fallen as a result of cheaper natural gas and stricter environmental regulations.
  • Exports of manufactured products and basic commodities are down thanks to a stronger dollar which has made U.S. producers less competitive in global markets.
  • Farmers have delayed shipping some grains, especially corn and soy beans, in the hope that prices will recover in future.
  • Manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers have cut new orders as they struggle to reverse excess inventories built up as a result of over-ordering in 2014 and early 2015.
  • Freight shipments related to oil, gas and mining have tumbled as the plunge in commodity prices forces a widespread slowdown in drilling and quarrying.

Meanwhile, on the high seas:

Quick central planners, someone figure out how to print trade...