The Trump Administration’s partial tariff truce with China drew swift criticism for not being enough. For example, from Bloomberg Economics, …
“Past experience is that U.S.–China trade agreements aren’t worth the paper they are written on, and this one hasn’t even been written down. For now, though, indications on trade are a little more positive. If that persists, it could help put a floor under sliding global growth.”
Tom Orlik and Yelena Shulyatyeva, Bloomberg Economics
Take two important shipping indices, the Cass Corp Freight Index (Shipments) and the Baltic Dry Shipping Index. Both indices are still higher today than at any time between 2014-2017.
Sure, the Baltic Dry Index is lower than it was in was in September 2019, just a month ago (white line). But it is still higher than at any time in the 2014-2017 time frame.
The same for the Cass Corp Freight Shipment index (green line) is below its peak in 2018, but still higher than at any point from 2012 to 2017.
So while trade tariff progress is moving along, the media and economists conveniently forget that shipping is still stronger than it was from 2014-2017.