Over the past two weeks, the Baltic Dry Index has been heading south at a fast rate of knots. This is not a good sign for Australia's commodity-based economy.
According to Wikipedia, the index provides an assessment of the price of moving the major raw materials by sea. Taking in 23 shipping routes measured on a time charter basis, the index covers Handysize, Supramax, Panamax, and Capesize dry bulk carriers carrying a range of commodities including coal, iron ore and grain. The movement in the index immediately prior to and at the commencement of the Great Recession (aka GFC) was substantial.