July 12, 2010

BDI as a leading indicator

Many economists look to the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) as a leading indicator. It shows shipping volume and unlike unemployment tends to be a front end indicator of economic activity.  Unemployment is a trailing indicator on the other hand.

Back in early 2009 it looked like a bounce back was quite possible if not likely.  Now, not so much:

Last year things were looking like a V-shaped recovery. Then maybe a quick U-shaped recovery.  Now, this is seeming less and less like a recovery and more like stagnation.  Look what has happened since May of this year.  The BDI is clearly headed in the wrong direction, proving that just like any other rapid indicator, it's subject to some speculation.  Even if you factor in trend lines, the latest dip seems to fall well below that line.  Whether it's as a result of insane fiscal policy in the form of additional U.S. debt, or as a result of worries of Greece's debt (and Spain and Portugal and Great Britain) is not obvious, but the two factors are not entirely unrelated.

Arguably, had the stimulus not occurred, the recovery might very well be much further along. For now, the U.S. will have to settle for $1 trillion plus annual deficits for as far as the eye can see and no immediate benefit to see from it. 

Way to go Mr. President, and all your Democratic lap dogs in Congress.  You could have bet all that money on a long shot at Arlington Park race track and gotten a better return.  The at least the Chicago machine could have tried to fix the race.  It sure couldn't have gone any worse than your attempt to fix the economy.

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