Baltic Indices: Recent Declines Aren't Worrisome

by: Calafia Beach Pundit

A reader questioned why I highlighted the Baltic shipping indices when they supported the bull case, but have neglected to show them now that they have collapsed. Well, here they are. The way I interpret the Baltic indices, which have indeed dropped from their highs of early June, is that a) they are typically quite volatile, b) their recent volatility is within the range of past volatility, c) they are still way above the levels of late last year when global trade ground to a halt, and d) they are still at levels that in the past have been consistent with relatively strong global trade. So I see nothing in the Baltic charts that leads me to think that the recent decline in these indices reflects any major problem with global trade or the global economy.

As for the Harpex Index of shipping, which I have cited before, it is still moribund, trading flat since late June. I don't understand this index enough to know what to make of this, but as I have said before, it looks to me like it has bottomed.