The ongoing battle between the United States and China for economic supremacy isn’t only being fought in the gilded ballrooms of Washington, as trade negotiators from either side parry over automobile parts content, intellectual property rights, government subsidies and the like.
Casualties and victories are also borne out over the decks of hulking freighters that carry the commodities which make up the nuts and bolts of international trade.
Indeed, shipping statistics are often sought by economics and traders trying to predict the health of a country’s economy or the world economy. The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) is one such leading indicator. Another is the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). PMIs are a monthly survey of supply chain managers across 19 industries. An economy with a PMI of over 50 is considered to be growing; under 50 means an economy is treading water or possibly drowning.