Freight Recession Confirmed? Crashing Truck Sales Show US Growth In Jeoaprdy• https://www.zerohedge.com, by Tyler Durden
As Bloomberg's Simon White writes, real economic activity in the U.S. is slowing sharply, and "this is showing up in lower demand for new trucks and autos, and a tailing off in freight volumes, leaving transport stocks facing more downside."
As White picks up where Fuller left off, heavy truck sales in the U.S. are a "very good leading indicator of economic activity, with 65% of the dollar value of North American freight moved by trucks. But new truck sales have been falling sharply, now at -23% on an annual basis. New auto sales are falling at a similar rate. Truck and auto sales combined are falling at a rate previously only associated with recessions.
That said, White cautions readers that "before you enter your equity sell orders, this is not a recession prediction. Recessions are signaled by a rapid regime shift across many areas of the economy and markets, and there is no sign we are in the process of this happening." Nonetheless, this sharp decline in vehicle sales shows slowing growth is in the mail.
There's more: freight volume growth has also been slowing. Annual growth in containers loaded at the Port of Los Angeles is steadily heading down to 0% after hitting 20% last year. Lockdowns in China are clearly having an impact here. Cities and regions accounting for over 40% of China's 2020 GDP are in full or partial lockdown. The Shanghai freight index is 13% lower than it was six weeks ago, the sharpest decline seen in the ten-year history of the index.
As we noted over the weekend, and as White picks up in his note, "shipping rates have been falling, but this is academic as it is virtually impossible -- while such a draconian lockdown is in place -- for exporters to load boxes in their warehouse and move the goods on to the ships."