Saturday, August 8, 2009

Another look at shipping (2)

The folks at Harper Petersen & Co. publish a weekly index of shipping costs, called the Harpex index, that I've highlighted before (and which was brought to my attention by an alert reader). Contrary to the Baltic indices of shipping, which focus primarily on bulk shipments of commodities, the Harpex index looks at a variety of charter rates (relative to the cost of running the ship) in the Atlantic. Also unlike the Baltic index, which is up sharply from its lows of last year, the Harpex index has not risen at all. The best that can be said about it now is that it is unchanged over the past nine weeks. When I first looked at it a month or so ago I suspected it was bottoming, and now that speculation looks to be accurate.

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