I don’t have the crystal ball, but the charts for BDI [Baltic Dry Index], [Shanghai Containerized Freight Index and the North American Trucking index are all pointing down and this sort of cliff diving has been going on for awhile now.
Down in Texas, there’s a fella I know that makes runs with his truck and about a month ago he said that moving product has dropped off a lot. He confirms others in the trucking business are seeing the same thing. Also, look at other raw materials such as lumber and iron…all trending down quite rapidly. All I can say is that it appears the “consumer” is tapped out due to debt most likely.
Another thing that has happened that I have never seen is what the credit card companies are doing in an attempt to get people to buy stuff (I’m 64 so I’ve seen quite a bit, so far, but nothing like we see now). I get credit care apps in the mail (lots of them…more than any other time in my life) whereby they offer such things as “spend $1000 in 3 months and get a credit of $100 to $250 which you can apply to your credit card balance. We take advantage of this all the time…but we never carry a balance. What we “charge” during a month we pay it off with the next statement. Furthermore, we get so many “offers” of balance transfers (never have a balance, by the way) that would give us 12-18 months at 0% interest. Maybe a year or two ago, the length of time for 0% was typically 6 months.
What does all this tell us? There is a problem out there and it seems to be escalating.