Here is a chart of the Baltic Dry Index over the past year:
The Baltic Dry Index is:
an assessment of the price of moving the major raw materials by sea. Taking in 26 shipping routes measured on a timecharter and voyage basis, the index covers Supramax, Panamax, and Capesize dry bulk carriers carrying a range of commodities including coal, iron ore and grain.
So why does this esoteric number matter?
Since June the index has been in free fall. That basically tells us that nothing was being shipped around the world. You can see from the chart that since the beginning of November, the index has flatlined and that could mean the global bottom is in sight.