China’s hot and cold shipping

Bloomie has got some new indexes for shipping that are showing a rather mixed picture for the Chinese economy:

On the on hand, we see a pretty healthy bounce in containerized traffic (red). At the same time, however, China’s Coastal Bulk Freight Index(white) is flat following the big fall last year. The orange line is China’s Coastal Coal Bulk Freight Index, which gives you some idea of why thermal coal has been sliding without cease.

So, decent containerized traffic and lousy bulk commodity traffic, especially in coal. Together you might call that some kind of rebalancing. Hope it doesn’t persist!

Houses and Holes

David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the fouding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal.

He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.


  1. H&H I put this on Sinocism’s entry but it is just as appropriate here, if you have not heard this, this has surprised me;
    Sinocism – you are probably already aware, but I have come across this about Australia that is potentially very disturbing – think really bad news for Gina, Clive & Twiggy!
    “I got this note from good friend Simon Hunt who has been visiting China 8+ times a year for decades to observe commodity consumption. He has particular expertise in copper, but he watches all the commodities.“First, we were told from friends in Australia that China had suspended payments on coal contracts from Australia. Then from associates in Shanghai we were told that there are large stocks of coal at the big ports in northern China; that a significant tonnage of coal imports have either been postponed or importers have just defaulted on their purchases.“There are two basic reasons for this impasse. First, underlying demand is weak – just as it is for other commodities that are heavily dependent on real estate and infrastructure – and, second, banks have become increasingly cautious in their lending. For many importers, their collateral has become impaired and banks are not prepared to either open LCs or extend loans to these companies.” John Mauldin – Thoughts from the Frontline.