Skip to comments.FEDEX INDICATOR FLASHING YELLOW AGAIN
Posted on 06/20/2012 5:53:31 AM PDT by Hojczyk
One of my favorite indicators, mentioned here back in March, is the FedEx indicator, and it is flashing bright yellow right now. The package shipping business is a highly sensitive indicator of aggregate decisions across the economy. Yesterday the Wall Street Journal updated the FedEx indicator with the headline: FedEx Signals Economic Woe.
A glance at sales and income from previous downturns shows how sensitive FedEx is to economic growth. Not only is FedEx the kind of company that catches a cold when the world economy merely sneezes. It is also the type that gets the sniffles when the data still give the economy a clean bill of health. .
[F]reight trends suggest a clear slowdown in Europe and a nascent one in Asia [and] may even be accompanied by a braking in the domestic market. Analysts at Credit Suisse note that April freight volumes in the U.S. fell 11% from March; typically the month sees an about 4% decline.
UPDATE: Todays Journal offers this headline: Steelmakers Gird for a Downturn.
NEW YORKThe steel industry faces its worst prospects in four years, with prices and demand falling, prompting a call by industry executives to cut costs and shut unprofitable mills.
The gloomy outlook mostly reflects the European crisis and slowing construction in China. It represents a sharp contrast from earlier this year when, buoyed by the automotive and energy-extraction industries, steelmakers were able to push through price increases and step up production.
Im sure Obama-Biden will tell us that prosperity is just around the corner.
Rural America, especially in the Midwest, is just getting HAMMERED by the Obama/Pelosi/Ried Depression.
I drove 300 miles of backroads yesterday, and drove through small towns without a SINGLE business left on Main Street, It looked like Downtown Gary without the guns in many places. Empty small factory after empty small factory. Repo signs all over the place.
Government is doing fine, and those connected to it are still making money, but small business is getting killed, and it will be a lot worse for them come January 1, 2013.
“The price of steel has been outrageous for years now.... this drives up the price of everything... but what is the real reason for the pricing? Government regulation and interference...”
Why do you think San Fransisco went to CHINA for the Bay Bridge Replacement??
and anyone with common sense knows, the scam is always protected by armed guards.
“My back-of-the-envelope index is rail trafficMore specifically, freight car loadings.... and traffic volume has been tepid, at best.”
Without huge demand for Fracking Sand, rail volume would be down, big-time!
My personal, anecdotal favorite is the price of scrap cardboard. It has gone from a high of $600 per ton down to $60 per ton. China used to be the main purchaser and it is used in packaging.
I watch container car loadings—the “double-stack” flats. Lately I’ve been seeing plenty of them moving empty or loaded with single containers only. Granted, some of them could be mere transfers between railroads...but still, moving an empty car isn’t a revenue-generating activity.
And on the whole, the level of rail traffic I see today is nowhere near what it was a few years ago.
Look for the Federal Department of Somethingorother to start FedExing massive numbers of empty boxes around the country between now and the election...
My self designed investment class prognosticator has me out of US stocks, foreign stocks and commodities. Only thing that is positive, and barely; is REITS (Real Estate trusts).
I check it on a weekly basis. It crashed big time in 2008-2009, had a dead cat bounce in 2010 and is now testing a 10-year low that might be the real norm - chart only goes back 10-12 years.
But a lot of the rise in transportation costs is being driven by unbelievable regulatory and tax costs: everything from skyrocketing vehicle taxes & registration costs plus the EPA's (or CARB) demands for refitting new diesel engines for trucks and hiking landing fees, driver 'rest' requirements pushing up labor costs, etc.
It's almost as though the government is deliberately trying to shut down as much economic activity as possible.
Where’s the link?