24/2/2017: Baltic Dry Index is Still in a Disaster Territory

All of the discussions about the Baltic Dry Index - a proxy for global trade flows - in recent weeks was centred on the alleged recovery in the index valuations from the historical lows of 1Q 2016. Much of this recovery was predicated on the cost of fuel that went to inflate the cost of shipping, rather than the genuine uptick in global trade.

In fact, as the most recent data suggests, uptick in global trade volumes is nowhere to be seen:

Source: https://www.fxstreet.com/analysis/global-trade-disaster-nearly-certain-201702220646

But here is a look at the trends in the Baltic Dry Index confirming the simple fact that whatever recovery there has been, the index readings remain deeply in a trade-recession territory:

Worse, Suez Canal traffic is still trending down: http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/suez-canal-revenues-decline-in-wake-of-sluggish-global-trade/, although Panama Canal volumes are hitting new records http://www.tradewindsnews.com/andalso/1213246/panama-canal-volumes-hit-new-record (the data is not adjusted for the capacity expansion since June 2016). Even with that expansion, Trans-pacific trade is up only 4.3% y/y in 2016, an improvement on 3.7% growth in 2015, but much worse than 5.9% growth in 2014 (see http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/volume-recovery-in-far-east-europe-and-transpacific-trade/).

Overall, even the improved Baltic Dry Index current average for 2017-to-date is at around 831.6, which is below all 2009-2014 annual averages. Not exactly a sign of booming global economy.