Investors perplexed by the market's anxiety over slower global economic growth should look no farther than the Baltic Dry Index, a closely watched measure of worldwide industrial demand.
The index, which tracks international maritime shipping rates for everything from iron ore to coal to grain, has tumbled 50% since late May. Given that few things are as finely tuned to the macroeconomic picture as Panamax Gearless Bulk Carriers, plying the seas loaded with the rawest of raw materials, lower shipping rates tend to bode ill for future global growth. See chart below:
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