Last week, I received news from a contact who is friends with one of the biggest billionaire shipping families in the world. He told me they had no ships at sea right now, because operating them meant running at a loss.
This weekend, reports are circulating saying much the same thing: The North Atlantic has little or no cargo ships traveling in its waters. Instead, they are anchored. Unmoving. Empty.
You can see one such report here. According to it,
Commerce between Europe and North America has literally come to a halt. For the first time in known history, not one cargo ship is in-transit in the North Atlantic between Europe and North America. All of them (hundreds) are either anchored offshore or in-port. NOTHING is moving.We checked VesselFinder.com and it appears to show no ships in transit anywhere in the world. We aren’t experts on shipping, however, so if you have a better site or source to track this apparent phenomenon, please let us know.
This has never happened before. It is a horrific economic sign; proof that commerce is literally stopped.
We also checked MarineTraffic.com, and it seemed to show the same thing. Not a ship in transit.
If true, this would be catastrophic for world trade. Even if it’s not true, shipping is still nearly dead in the water according to other indices.
The Baltic Dry Index, an assessment of the price of moving major raw materials by sea, was already at record all-time lows a month ago and in the last month it has dropped even more, especially in the last week. Today BDIY hit 415.
Factories aren’t buying and retailers aren’t stocking. The ratio of inventory to sales in the US is an indicator of this. The last time that ratio was this high was during the “great recession” in 2008.
Hey, Ms. Yellen, what recovery? The economy is taking on water at a rapid rate.
The storm has been building for some time, actually. Not so long ago, there was a spate of reports that the world’s automobile manufacturers were in trouble because cars were not selling and shipments were backing up around the world.
ZeroHedge reported on it this way:
In the past several years, one of the topics covered in detail on these pages has been the surge in such gimmicks designed to disguise lack of demand and end customer sales, used extensively by US automotive manufacturers, better known as “channel stuffing”, of which General Motors is particularly guilty and whose inventory at dealer lots just hit a new record high.Here is a photo of unsold cars in the United Kingdom from that article.
The world’s economy seems in serious trouble. You can’t print your way to prosperity. All you are doing is hollowing out your economy. Draining it. And sooner or later it’s empty and you have to start over after a good deal of crisis and chaos.