World trade volumes declined for the third month in a row according to the CPB World Trade Monitor Index released today. The index grew only 0.29% on a year over year basis (Chart 1). Every time the index has grown so slowly, the United States was already in recession. The report, put together by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, also indicated that world industrial production has also decreased, with the bulk of the decreases coming from the U.S., Japan, and Central and Eastern Europe.
Evidence of the trade contraction is showing up on U.S. shores as declines in container trade at the port of Long Beach. The chart below shows that container trade in Long Beach has increased in only 3 of the last 15 months. That’s not a good sign for the U.S. economy, or the world’s.