Holy-Cow Spikes in China-US Container Freight Rates & US Consumer Spending on Goods Trigger Mad, Possibly Illegal Scramble for Empties. US Farmers Twist in the Wind

US Federal Maritime Commission investigates container carriers’ “abandonment” of American agricultural industry. Weirdest Economy Ever.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

The freight rates from Asia to the US West Coast and East Coast, and to Europe, have exploded since the stimulus economy kicked in, where consumers shifted spending from services – such as airline tickets, haircuts, and even rents under the eviction bans – to goods, powered by money from the stimulus and from refinancing their mortgages at lower rates.

The average spot rate that container carriers charge for shipping containers from Shanghai to the US East Coast shot to a new record of $4,874 per FEU (Forty-foot-Equivalent Unit), a standard measuring unit in the shipping industry. The average spot rate from Shanghai to the US West Coast, after hitting a record of $3,948 per FEU in the prior week, dipped a smidgen to $3,900 last week, according to the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI). For all 13 major global routes that the SCFI tracks, the overall index as of December 18 rose to a record reading of 2,412, up roughly 165% from a year ago.

These distortions have created a global chain reaction that includes a shortage of empty containers in the US that has hammered farmers that grow crops for exports, but have trouble finding enough containers to ship their crops. The resulting uproar has caused the US Federal Maritime Commission to investigate container carriers, amid allegations they are violating the US Shipping Act of 1984 (chart via Shanghai Shipping Exchange):

At the same time, freight rates for shipping containers from the US West Coast to North Asia are languishing at $600 per FEU, according to Platts Container Rates. And that is part of the calculus that container carriers undertake in deciding what to do with the empty containers.

The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has initiated an investigation of ocean container carriers, amid allegations that they are sending empty containers directly from US ports to Asian ports to profit from the juicy east-bound freight rates, rather than making the empty containers available to US agricultural exporters, thus shutting US farmers out of their global markets.

The FMC said in a press release on November 20 that it would “investigate ocean carriers operating in alliances and calling the Port of Long Beach, the Port of Los Angeles, or the Port of New York and New Jersey” in order “to determine if the policies and practices of those shipping companies related to detention and demurrage, container return, and container availability for U.S. export cargoes violate 46 U.S.C. 41102(c).”

“The Commission is concerned that certain practices of ocean carriers and their marine terminals may be amplifying the negative effect of bottlenecks at these ports and may be contrary to provisions in the Shipping Act of 1984,” the FMC said.

“The potentially unreasonable practices of carriers and marine terminals regarding container return, export containers, and demurrage and detention charges in the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and New York/New Jersey present a serious risk to the ability of the United States to handle trade growth,” the FMC said.

Then on December 8, FMC chairman Michael Khouri, speaking at the Global Maritime Conference, said: “Some ocean carriers – not all – have stated that they will no longer deploy – that is – reposition empty containers to the US interior agricultural areas. Instead, they are expediting empties back to Asia.”

“This abandonment of a significant U.S. export industry – the American agricultural industry – is shutting them out of global markets,” he said.

“We are looking into all potential – I repeat – all potential responsive actions, including a review of whether such ocean carriers’ actions are in full compliance with the Shipping Act and more specifically the various ‘Prohibited Acts’ sections of the Act,” he said.

Then on December 17, the FMC admonished World Shipping Council CEO John Butler: “We are writing to express our growing concern about reports that ocean carriers are refusing the carriage of U.S. exports”; and that “it is of great concern, if true, that focus on the delivery of surge import cargoes works to the detriment of U.S. exporters.”

The letter cited the Shipping Act of 1984, section 41104(a)(10), which states that common carriers may not “unreasonably refuse to deal or negotiate.” And it cited section 41105 which states that two or more common carriers may not “boycott or take any other concerted action resulting in an unreasonable refusal to deal;” or “engage in conduct that unreasonably restricts the use of intermodal services….”

The FMC investigation and messaging are in response to the uproar among American farmers, their lobbying groups, and their Representatives in Congress, over the sudden disappearance of empties, and denied or cancelled bookings.

Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AGTC) executive director Peter Friedmann, in commenting on the FMC’s decision in November to investigate the carriers, said that the members of his organization “have continuously provided information on carrier and terminals practices, which has greatly served to inform the Commissioners.”

“This includes refusal to carry export cargo, cancelling export bookings/refusing new bookings, lack of appointments, changing ERD’s, lack of free time, lack of notice, all which contribute to current supply chain dysfunction,” he said.

At the core of the container shortage is the demand for goods created by the distortions of the Weirdest Economy Ever where US consumers have sharply reduced spending on services but have purchased a record amount of goods, including a breath-taking amount of durable goods:

Many of these consumer goods, or their components to be assembled in the US, are imported from other countries. And this has created a historic surge of containers arriving at US ports starting in August.

For example, the Port of Los Angeles reported that imports of “loaded” containers for the four months of August, September, October, and November soared by 22% from the prior year, to 1.96 million TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit, a standard measuring unit in shipping, half of an FEU). This surge was the opposite of what happened during the Financial Crisis:

The sudden enormous demand for goods by consumers in the US (and similarly in Europe) for imported goods has created an equally enormous demand for empty containers in China and elsewhere in Asia to ship these goods to the US and Europe. These exporters in Asia are scrambling to get empties, and they have bid up freight rates to historic levels.

Container carriers are loving it. During the years of low freight rates, where the survival of those carriers was at stake – and some of them collapsed, such as the world’s seventh largest carrier, Hanjin in 2016 – container carriers have under-invested in equipment other than buying ultra-large ships. And their investment in containers has lapsed.

According to estimates by Drewry, cited by Loadstar, the global stock of containers, at 42.4 million TEU by the end of 2020, will be down 1% from 2019, just as demand for containers has exploded.

In addition, rather than owning the containers, carriers have refocused on leasing containers, in their drive to cut costs in past years as freight rates have languished at the low end of the spectrum. Leasing containers can offer more flexibility and lower storage and repositioning costs. According to Loadstar, over half of the global stock of containers is now being leased.

In addition, distribution and transload centers, due to social distancing requirements, are operating at less than full capacity. This has contributed to containers sitting around waiting to be unloaded, impeding the flow of containers. While there is a shortage of empty containers for exporters in the US and in Asia, the irony is that there is also a congestion of containers that are stuck and cannot move, not just in the US but around the world. Chalk it up to the Weirdest Economy Ever.

Enjoy reading WOLF STREET and want to support it? Using ad blockers – I totally get why – but want to support the site? You can donate. I appreciate it immensely. Click on the beer and iced-tea mug to find out how:

Would you like to be notified via email when WOLF STREET publishes a new article? Sign up here.




  135 comments for “Holy-Cow Spikes in China-US Container Freight Rates & US Consumer Spending on Goods Trigger Mad, Possibly Illegal Scramble for Empties. US Farmers Twist in the Wind

  1. Gerry says:

    Not all durables are getting hoovered up by Americans. Try finding a discounted 18 cubic foot bare bones refrigerator. Those westbound containers containing stuff from China go straight to Amazon warehouses.

  2. Mira says:

    Here’s to making the quick & easy Almighty Buck at any cost !!
    Just think of all the fresh produce being ploughed back into the ground for lack of market.
    Great article .. the common man does not know anything unless we are told .. hey.

    • Mira says:

      And here’s to the Wise Guy !!

      • Joe Saba says:

        my green house is operating nicely – thank you
        now it’s time to go plant some more seeds

    • Gordian knot says:

      In a normal non manipulated market all that surplus produce should flow into the local US market and drop prices by half.

    • Anthony A. says:

      Well, I guess someone in the world is not getting enough to eat since we are not shipping produce.

      • Karlo Suave says:

        How much of this is produce versus commodities like grain and soy? Isn’t it the free market in operation when a shipping company does whatever it wants to in order to make more profit?
        I’m curious how many free market advocates are begging for regulation now?

  3. MonkeyBusiness says:

    After today’s 900 billion largesse, expect even crazier prices!!!

    • Mira says:

      Including the environmental cost of transporting empty containers across the oceans for profit .. Yo !!!

      • Joe Saba says:

        yah market doesn’t think $900 B is enough to stir anything
        but I will continue to raise prices each and every year

        since the MASSIVE DEVALUATION of $$Dollar is continual

        real inflation is LACK OF BUYING(VALUE) potential of $dollar
        but hey STORE needs more assets

        just ask BEZOS

      • Tony22 says:

        A thousand dollar tax on each empty container leaving U.S. ports would put a stop to that pronto. Call it “an environmental tax”.

  4. Barbara Duck says:

    Thanks for the great coverage on this topic which is not getting enough attention. I would like to add that when the containers arrive at the ports, they need chassis. Chassis are needed to put the container on the rail as that is what occurs with a good deal of the containers that come from China and otherwise.

    The railroads have a solution for this lack of chassis, they created at $2500.00 surcharge for customers not of records in addition to the normal charge to move the freight on the rail, and truckload is getting to be cheaper. So customers are booking on Canadian railroads to move to the east coast. I should mention a customer of record means the big guys so smaller brokers and companies, get the $2500 surcharge.

    I mention this as the container situation goes beyond the shortage. Sometimes truckloads are being broken down in to 4 shipments and booked with less than truckload carriers to move the freight and add on extra labor cost for unloaded and loading.

    This got out of hand because nobody cared enough to do something sooner. There’s ships showing up at the port of Los Angeles and Long Beach to be unloaded that are not on any schedule as well.

    So now it’s down to not even allowing US exports to fill the containers as they need them so desperately in China, they want the empty.

    That $2500.00 surcharge for the UP for a container load is real and a few months ago when that started I almost couldn’t believe it.

    • Mira says:

      Because of the desperate need of China ..
      Surely if there is a shortage to a desperate need, we know how to build more container, I mean how hard can it be .. & / or maybe a more efficient timetable could be introduced to shipping .. a new & more productive software program to make cost effective & streamlined shipping happen.
      Today .. the ‘good ol’ fashioned know how’ way is not good enough & neither is the ‘flying by the seat of our pants’ method.
      Billion dollar business should get their act together ..

      • Mira says:

        Heads need to roll here.
        Igor, bring in the guillotine please.

        • Mark says:

          Rich heads don’t roll in the U.S. Or do any jail time for anything.

          How can anybody not know that by now?

      • Cas127 says:

        “Surely if there is a shortage to a desperate need, we know how to build more container, I mean how hard can it be”

        Somehow, despite all the sophisticated central planning coming out of DC and high tech genius of N CA…American knowledge of how to build reasonably priced wooden boxes (houses), metal boxes (containers), and paper masks (surgical) has been lost.

        This has been 20 years of some grade A leadership coming from political and business incumbents.

        • Joe Saba says:

          you funny – merican manufacture containers
          our politicians gave that up when 1% got NAFTA and WTO

          because we can’t have people making LIVING WAGES

          solution is not good on – charge POLLUTION TARIFF on imports

          EPA is real problem – who wants to ADHERE TO OPPRESSIVE regulations when they can pollute(with simple bribe) in other countries
          THEREBY DENYING merican workers of jobs
          and now AI is taking(est being 60%) low wage jobs
          they show up for work, never call in sick and genuinely don’t have attitudes

        • nick kelly says:

          It’s no problem to build more containers and if you gave them a head’s up of say 3 months you could get all you could pay for. They aren’t widgets where you press a button and another ten K roll off an the line in 8 hours.

          The X factor here is the sudden mood- swing of the consumer which has always been prone to huge unpredictable change.

          Why was there a shortage of toilet paper? There wasn’t, over a two- month time period, but over a two – week time period, if the consumer decides he needs to store TP like a squirrel, there is nothing the mills can do to avoid empty shelves. They already run 24/7 and they sure as hell aren’t going to build ‘peak’ mills for when the consumer fears Armageddon. (Our rich Western society seems to rank this fear up there with starvation. The elderly Chinese in Canada cleaned out the rice shelves as their priority)

          If industry decides to double the number of containers for this coinciding of Covid-19 stimulus money AND Xmas, they will just be stuck with them when reality rears its ugly head in about two weeks.

          That being said, by all means apply any laws against ‘sharp practice’, especially reneging on a contract for one more lucrative.

      • fajensen says:

        we know how to build more container, I mean how hard can it be .

        Not very, one just contracts with a manufacturer in China and they will pop out of the logistics chain at some point in time … China have all of the steel forges anyway :).

        The real problem is when we have people like Pompeo pissing on Chinas shoes in public all of the time and encouraging his friends to do the same, then … … there will be delays, maybe in customs, bureaucratic stuff that simply nobody can do anything about, regrettable as it is.

        • Cas127 says:

          Faj,

          “Pompeo pissing on Chinas shoes in public all of the time”

          If you are going to have globalization, then diversification in source countries is job one…and honest policing of currency manipulation is a close second.

          Otherwise, dealing from a position of pathetic weakness, you end up with a parade of tramp stamped American “leaders”, promising, “Me love you long time.”

      • exiter says:

        Billion dollar business should get their act together …

        The “owners” of BillionDollarBusinesses are, for the most part, not. They are hired managers with completely different intentions than the original founders. At the $1 Billion level of revenues, owners are rare.

        Those other intentions admit of only incidental/coincidental welfare to the 99%. We are here…which is exactly where every “system” eventually arrives because, a “system” inherently means fixed rules of operating, thus liable to its weaknesses and subject to “gaming” as new tools are created to take advantage of any fixed conditions…or unforeseen events erode the purity of fixed rules.

        There have to be changes or WW3 will intervene. Many persons tried to warn others that WW2 was unavoidable unless the mover-and-shaker class changed their ways.

    • Don’t forget LA is under maximum Covid lockdown procedures. Sounds as though the railroads are gouging their customers. Not sure if the ag sellers could get their product to LA that it would go any smoother. The LTLs are still working, which explains why they get the business. The number of unscheduled arrivals is the problem from the supply end, I think you just about covered it.

    • macle says:

      There are thousands of empty containers stacked four deep in an area on the western fringe of Lagos Nigeria called Apapa. This has been going on since around Feb with no sign of slowing down. I was wondering what on earth all these empty containers where therefore.

      • Sailor says:

        Amazing!
        Taking a look at satellite views for comparison at Los Angeles and, say, Felixstowe in the UK, for there are way more containers in Apapa.
        Wonder if there are other ports worldwide that containers are building up in?
        Karachi, like LA and Felix, looks to be about half full which I guess is normal. Rio and Buenos Aires seem slightly over that, maybe 2/3, but I don’t know what their normal is. Port Said, Egypt and Istanbul look to be below half full.

      • Sailor says:

        Abidjan, Ivory Coast, also appears to be completely full of containers. Monrovia looks normal.

    • Rubicon says:

      I’m always on the look out for economic shifts.
      I saw something odd today in driving home from Portland to little Vancouver, via, the I-5 Freeway (from/to Seattle/Portland/California); a number of large trucks were carrying RR freight cars and going southward. Never seen that before.
      Odd that the topic is being discussed here.

  5. Nathan Dumbrowski says:

    Would this lend itself to the inflation we are expecting to see? With the cost of shipping 2-3x the same price that has to be paid for somewhere. Could that be part of the increase

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      Inflation is already here according to my McCheetos Index. The price of the McChicken has gone up from 1 dollar to a 1.39!!! A 40% increase!!!

      A bag of Cheetos? The price for that has been creeping up pretty steadily as well. It’s close to 2 dollars now.

      • Joe Saba says:

        bingo, of course LESS DEMAND, high prices = better profits for 1%

        bezos has been LAUGHING ALL YEAR LONG as he eats $1,000(or $1,500) kobe burgers

      • Anthony A. says:

        The price of a strawberry yogurt sundae in the Costco food court has gone from $1.69 to $2.50 since last March.

        • dr spock says:

          Anthony, I just got back from shopping at Costco today. The price of their mozzarella cheese has gone up almost 50% in the last year and their milk has jumped 35% in the last month.

        • Cas127 says:

          “The price of their mozzarella cheese has gone up almost 50%”

          It’s a Xmas Fed Inflation Miracle!!

          Every time an American pays more (despite integration of China’s millions of factories into world trade), a lobotomized Fed employee gets his PhD.

          Merry Christmas, $60,000 college tuition!

          Merry Christmas, $300 10 minute medical appt!

          Merry Christmas, $350,000 starter house!

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        I buy a lot of packaged foodstuffs at a nearby Dollar Tree (it’s the only store in walking distance, and everything is $1). Over the past few months quite a number of items that have been available for years are gone. At some point you can’t sell them for $1 so now they are just unavailable.

        • dr spock says:

          L_H, you are exactly right. I’ve noticed that some of the items that were gone have come back, but in a much smaller package that represents 10 times the price per ounce.

      • dr spock says:

        MB, I have said that in the last year, buying just the things I need, ie, the basics, that the price is up around 50% and some laugh and not believe it, so maybe there’s is a different set of basics for them.

        • Tony22 says:

          Friend is a purchasing agent for a large national auto dealer, that makes most of their money off the loans and the repair shop which cannot get certain spare parts and when they do, they have to wait a long time and the prices are going vertical.

          Word to the wise, convert your cash to necessities now before this interruption/inflation arrives at the consumer shelf level. Non perishable food is cheap today compared to’morrow and you’re stomach won’t tolerate back orders and long delays.

          Don’t forget liquor, know how much jewelry an alcoholic would trade for a bottle of Smirnoff? Like water to wine, a liter of less of that was converted into a full tank of gas in the newly free marketed Soviet Union.

      • 728huey says:

        Actually, I am seeing volume inflation with regard to Cheetos and other snack goods. It was just a couple of years ago that you could get the party size bag of Lay’s potato chips for $3.99 a bag for 16 oz of yummy deliciousness. These days that same bag can be found for $3.79 a bag, but that bag is now only 13 oz.

    • nick kelly says:

      Not sure about you guys but the Canadian CPI doesn’t include the two essentials: shelter (either rented or purchased) and food.

  6. Sir.PiratePapirus says:

    Well Wolf i just paid 5100USD for a small container 20″ to eastern europe (back home to my country). And btw 5100USD and there is no guarantee i will have a container by January 15. A big container 40″ around 9000USD. (Depending on the carrier) of course. I told my customers that we can delay shipment for most of them and ship only the essentials, the problem is that if i warehouse the goods there is costs involved, and i don’t know for how long i will need to warehouse them so prices can start to move down again. I used to pay 1700USD-1800USD for a small containers before the pandemic. My shipping agent here in China told me that even after New Year prices will not drop that much, because the problem will persist until Europe and the US are opened fully, and goods begin to be shipped from there as well. Now that i read this story i can’t help but think something more nefarious is going on. Oh well….

  7. Engin-ear says:

    – “hammered farmers that grow crops for exports, but cannot find containers to ship their crops”

    I regret not seeing a graph showing the export shippings volume 2020 vs 2019 (2018) – from US to Asia.

    A simple graph should highlight instantly the issue – for the FMC and for the farmers.

    At least the graphs at Wolfstreet.com are insightful.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Engin-ear,

      What the industry exported in past months is beside the point for this discussion. What matters is what it AGREED to export and cannot export due to lack of containers.

      • historicus says:

        They dont ship corn, beans and wheat in shipping containers.

        • Tom Pfotzer says:

          I emphasize Historicus’ point. Bulk commodities like wheat, corn, soybeans, coal, lumber don’t ship in containers. What is the mechanism by which container shortages are affecting farmers?

          The railroads and bulk-handling ports have an enormous economic interest in moving that freight. Railroads make money via superior asset utilization, and having locomotives and paid-for hopper cars sitting idle isn’t what they want. Same with bulk-handling port facilities and the ships that carry bulk goods.

        • Paulo says:

          Beat me to it. Vancouver has a line up of empty grain ships ready to load. They are even anchored up in bays on Vancouver Island.

          I guess no more C Cans for construction sites, homeless shelters,…..

        • Wolf Richter says:

          historicus, Tom Pfotzer

          BS, you ag experts. The article didn’t mention soybeans, but here are some facts about soybeans being shipped in containers:

          “An aggregation of historical FGIS data shows that buyers in smaller countries and island countries have shown a growing preference for receiving soybeans in container shipments over recent years. Without the container option, many of the animal operations would not be able to secure the inputs required to grow the business and in turn, increase soybean consumption. Likewise, without container availability, the U.S. soybean farmer will not be able to supply that business. Just a reminder, new infrastructure always creates opportunities that benefit the non-attended targets.”

          https://ussoy.org/u-s-soybean-container-exports-increasing/

        • Tom Pfotzer says:

          Wolf: thks for link.

          But…the link didn’t support your case, as it shows that container-exports consist of ~5% of total exports. 2019 U.S. soybean exports around 47 million tons, container 2.7 mill tons. A momentary disruption in container-based shipments isn’t going to materially affect farmers. And not all 5% of those potential shipments are getting impacted.

          Article was very much worth reading anyway, tho, and thanks. Noteworthy that container traffic opens up smaller markets (a good thing) Also means that the small, lower-cpy ports in less well-off countries which are served by container traffic are really feeling the pain (hunger: no people feed and no animal feed for months).

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Tom,

          First, no one said anything in the article about soybeans, as I pointed out. You guys made that up. And I just gave you some info on that. Second, if you sell soybeans to Indonesia by container, and you cannot get a container to ship those soybeans, then you’re screwed. And your Indonesian customers are going to buy their containerized soybeans from Brazil.

        • Dan Romig says:

          I just spoke with Pete Friederichs of Friederichs Seeds in Foxhome, Minnesota.

          They have moved around 800,000 bushels of soy products for 2020, as they did in 2019, and they are having delays getting containers for exporting across the Pacific. Their “bulk shipments” are loaded into cargo containers, but these are non-GMO soybeans as opposed to Roundup-ready beans that take most of the acreage.

          Soybeans are higher in price these days, and that does help them for seed sales for the 2021 growing season.

        • Rg says:

          A quick google search of “Ag exports China container” turned up several articles documenting that grain, soybeans, cotton and forest products are sometimes shipped in containers.

        • td says:

          They do ship beans, other pulses, nuts, frozen food products, packaged vegetable oils, and on and on by container, both conventional and specialized. There are many food products that are not bulk grains and that add up to huge dollar value that need to be containerized for export.

  8. Avraam Jack Dectis says:

    .
    Two of the funniest phrases in economics are “comparative advantage” and “creative destruction”.

    So in homage, we shipped our manufacturing offshore.

    Lovely result.
    .

    • fajensen says:

      Well, if one creatively regime change and bomb the shit out of half of the world and sanctions the rest to various degrees, then, comparatively, one has an advantage.

      Seems to be the US approach to “Free Trade” these days.

      • Sierra7 says:

        Fajensen:
        Kind of reduces US foreign policies to simplicity!

      • Tom Pfotzer says:

        They hate us for our freedoms.

        You young people are going to inherit this maelstrom. Buckle up.

        • NBay says:

          “Freedoms”……

          To use a rather extreme example, I will feel truly “free” when I and others are allowed to be homeless under a bridge in the Hamptons, Hilton Head, Beach Mountain, Sedona, Tiburon, and other similar places, or don’t have to live under bridges at all.

          We had better get our own house in order before it collapses, not that our position among other nation states should be neglected.

          May I again suggest a Green New Deal (Deal=INDUSTRY) on a scale and of equal necessity of a WW2? Young people would much rather inherit a merely financial bean counting mess than a more physical planetary one. I’m quite certain of that.

          Yeah, a LOT of “lifestyles” will take a beating, so what? Aren’t we “tough and innovative”?

    • kam says:

      Shipping manufacturing offshore was no accident.
      The whole of the U.S. paid the price of weakening the country. While a few individuals lived large off the Destructive Creation.

  9. CRV says:

    So, you might say stimulus kills the farmers.
    As my father always told me: for every good deed, someone pays the price. And he was a socialist. Go figure.

    • CRV says:

      Isn’t there an English phrase like :no good deed goes unpunished? Though that says that the one that does the good will be punished. In this case it is the farmers that suffer from the stimulus in a twisted way.

      • Liberty Writer says:

        “no good deed goes unpunished?”
        We were told in government school:
        “no good deed in government shall go unpunished”

  10. Mira says:

    vox.com – The environmental cost of shipping stuff is huge. Can we fix it ??

    “Newer ships have been designed to carry more without a proportional increase in fuel use. The biggest ship today is capable of transporting close to 20,000 of the type of containers typically transported by semi-trailers on the highway ….. And as this capacity has grown, ports have adapted to handle the influx.

    And we are transporting empty / semi full containers ??
    And customers get to dump their produce due to a lack of opportunity !!
    This reflect a very unprofessional system of business .. haemorrhaging money I bet.
    Some one need to get their act together in a very big way.

    • Old School says:

      I think the theory is when you have a big event like covid, price is the quickest way to get the market back in balance. There was always going to be a lot of heartburn in the economy with covid.

  11. Micheal Engel says:

    Mar 2020 $2.3T CARES act ==> $1.53T US Treasury General Account
    ==> a new $2.3T package in Dec 2020.

    • historicus says:

      Jerome Powell ready to buy it up…
      The Fed subsidizes debt creation…and when you subsidize something you get more of it….and more…and more …and more….
      First 215 years of this nation and the national debt was $9 Trillion (2009)
      Looks like they have added $20 Trillion in just over 12 years.

      Repeat after me..
      “Trade deficits dont matter…Trade deficits dont matter”
      of course and except nations with credits seem to do a lot better than countries with trade deficits and who have to continually print money and monetize their debt.

      • Old School says:

        Great article out by Stockman on zhedge. Government emergency measures have spent 8 times the amount of lost wages due to covid. Slam he makes on J Powell saying that stocks aren’t expensive compared to bonds. After central banks murder the bond market, now stocks are cheap. You can’t make it up.

        • MonkeyBusiness says:

          For someone whose name has the word “stock” in it, Stockman has been wrong too many times to count. Stock market boom will outlast him.

          Sorry David!!!

  12. Micheal Engel says:

    IamABOT : US30 Futures : (-) 560 pt.

  13. Micheal Engel says:

    1) US30 Future low took out 15 TD Stop Losses to the left.
    2) If the big banks and the large institutions CARE, they will start selling.
    3) If they don’t, because they expect a higher DOW, a 36,000DOW, they will absorb their unexpected losses.
    4) The battle between bulls & bears is raging today.

  14. Old School says:

    SP500 going to earn less than $100 this year. I’m not interested in paying $3700 for that myself. Get back to me when it’s around $1200.

  15. doug says:

    OS, that comes out to 2.7%? which is three? times any bank account. Thus the rub, I guess.

  16. Defaulting is popular, in vogue;
    — once China defaults,
    shipping containers will idle.

  17. Brant Lee says:

    What’s the problem? It’s free trade, right? The only problem with that is that America lost. Monopolizing huge retailers have been allowed to extort foreign labor and in turn, stripped the land of jobs here. Now we have the additional insult of higher container fees added onto our cheap made, low-grade goods.

    We are reminded of this state continually with most television commercials being only Amazon and Walmart fuzzy feel-good tunes showing Americans eating Christmas dinner (spreader events) provided by unemployment and stimulus checks.

    • Tom Pfotzer says:

      Retailers didn’t export the jobs.

      The owners of U.S. production capacity moved the capacity to low-labor and low-envionmental-control locales, partly to make greater short-term profits, and partly to position where the most econ growth will be in the future – to get greater long-term profits.

      The owners of that productive capacity decided that “America ain’t where it’s at”. And they thought it expedient to not explain that decision to the workers..e.g. the people formerly known as “the middle class”. By their actions, they reported to us that “we’re not in this together”.

      Message received.

      I believe – but don’t know for sure – that the people (capitalists) that own that exported productive capacity also happen to own a big chunk of Walmart and Amazon. Just a guess.

      Every moment spent bashing the economic decision-making of the 1% is a moment wasted, IMHO. I prefer to spend that time preparing myself to re-occupy the terrain that they left for dead.

      They made their choices. OK, fine. Now I make mine.

      • Tom Pfotzer says:

        Correction: moved to “low labor cost”, not “low labor”.

        United States has plenty of labor, it just happens to cost a lot more than Asian labor at this stage of global economic development.

        • Cas127 says:

          TP,

          It is probably worth thinking about the structural inflexibilities in the US economy that make downward wage movement (and therefore increased intl price competitiveness) “impossible” in US.

          Leaving the usual political stupidities out of it, a pretty good question to ask is why 20 yrs of ZIRP has *only* led to home price inflation…and not an ounce of home *affordability* which might as easily have happened with gutted interest rates.

          That is a *key* question since home price inflation/rigidity makes labor price flexibility much more difficult/impossible in the US.

        • Tom Pfotzer says:

          Cas127: That is a fine question, and one that never would have occurred to me to ask myself. Thanks.

          [smell of wood burning]…..

          Hmm. Maybe it’s because:

          a. people with money are buying phys assets like houses. Noticed a lot of that happening post-2008. Locals ‘n furriners alike. Supply stays constrained, keeping/driving prices up

          b. People buy the “payment” not the house. As ZIRP does its deed, price you can pay increases. I don’t think this is it, tho…

          … Cas127, I fear you’ve stumped me for now, but you’ve budged me out of the ice. I’ll keep this in mind.

        • Cas127 says:

          TP,

          “Supply stays constrained”

          But why?

          Sure, ZIRP made a $400k house “affordable” in a way that only a $200k house was affordable pre ZIRP.

          But…what is the reason that only 400k houses are overwhelmingly being built in ZIRPWorld when a mere 300k house would free up disposable income.

          I don’t buy that input cost inflation requires a $400k price for profitability…commodity prices have not risen that much over 20 years and mass under employment is the story of America in the 21st century.

          What keeps lower cost homebuilders from entering and competing?

          Habitat for Humanity builds 100k houses with mostly volunteer effort.

          My guess is that paid labor houses could probably be profitably built for $200k…just like in 2000, pre ZIRP.

          But they aren’t…and haven’t for 20 yrs.

          That has a profound effect upon the US’ wage competitiveness internationally.

        • exiter says:

          As Michael Hudson told it…Abt 50 {?} yrs ago he was tasked by a giant bank [forget which] to study and determine “what is the maximim X [Argentina?forget] can make in loan payments”. ..since that simply determines how much could be loaned at what interest…incl gov-guaranteed loans.

          With ZIRP, bannksters [not necessarily banksflourish, With minimal or no interest public-financed loans…well, no banksters. Back to Rule #1: gotta have banksters.

        • Winston says:

          There’s also the environment cost savings arbitrage thanks to no or, at least, no widely enforced environmental standards in China.

      • Brant Lee says:

        In any event, American consumers are not benefiting from so-called “lower pricing” from abroad. If there were ceilings in which retailers could mark up most foreign goods, say 75%, pricing on shelves would drop drastically (not counting promotional items such as TV’s).

        US manufacturing could easily produce these goods and make a decent mark-up for retailers AT THE SAME PRICES BEING CHARGED ON THE SHELVES PRESENTLY. Everyone except corporate boards and stockholders are being extorted by financial power and their help from our government.

        • Tom Pfotzer says:

          Brant: your comment caused a serious bout of cognitive dissonance for me; what you said above refutes some of my closely-held “truths”

          I am currently burdened with these notions:

          a. Almost all costs except transport favor Asian producers, and some of those costs are big factors of production

          b. American consumers most certainly are benefiting from those cost differentials. Major appliances, tools, hardware, nearly all computer components, etc. are all much cheaper if sourced from Asia. Can’t think to too many exceptions as I mentally walk the aisles of Home Depot, for ex.

          Please provide more detail about input cost comparisons for manufacturing of, say, major appliances if that appliance was built in … Cleveland OH or Pittsburg, PA .vs. somewhere in Korea or China.

          And how does “financial power” extort stockholders to go to all the trouble to produce in China when they could readily do it in their back yard? What’s the stick they use to compel that sort of irrational behavior?

          If you’ve got insights on this, please expound.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          American labor (including engineers and line managers) are too costly to produce products in America that are affordable to that same American labor. Americans will just have to wait until the wages in low cost countries catch up to Americans. It will be a long wait. A very long wait.

        • Zantetsu says:

          Tom Pfotzer, have you considered the net cost of products produced in America to the average American consumer factoring in increased wages due to local production?

          Honest question. My thinking goes like this:

          – Consumer can be paid $15/hr to work in Amazon warehouse and buy a Chinese made washing machine for $600
          – Or consumer can be paid $30/hr to work in US manufacturing plant and buy a US made washing machine of same (or likely better) quality for $1,200.

          It’s not clear to me which version of that consumer is better off. Sure the washing machine is cheaper if they just buy from China, but if the production if that machine and many others is here, then maybe increased wages make up for it?

          Again, honest question.

        • Tony22 says:

          Lisa Hooker,

          Or, until American engineers and labor is willing to work for Third World wages.
          “Designed in California, made in China”
          Wow, I get a such a patriotic glow in my guts when I see that. What a quality product that is!

          Wait until “Designed in India, made in North Korea, financing from Israel, license enforcement from your local privatized sheriff” products hit the shelves.

        • Swamp Creature says:

          Wasn’t it Henry Ford who said he paid his workers a decent salary so they could afford to buy the cars they were producing. Now we have McKinsey consultants telling CEO’s to outsource everything to the lowest wage country so as to maximize the bottom line and executive bonuses. I’d rather pay a few bucks more and have the money recycled in the US economy and provide jobs for domestic producers.

        • Tom Pfotzer says:

          Zantetsu:

          You hammered the real question. It is MUCH better to pay a bit more for the washing machine in order to make a decent paycheck. Way, way better.

          But this notion hits us humans where we’re weak. We just can’t trade a short-term personal benefit for a long-term, larger societal benefit.

          And that makes us easy prey.

          The solutions to many, maybe even most of our world’s core problems is “character”.

          It may be out of style, but it sure isn’t out of utility.

      • Tom Pfotzer says:

        Cas127:

        You asked: “But…what is the reason that only 400k houses are overwhelmingly being built in ZIRPWorld when a mere 300k house would free up disposable income.”

        that’s a softball, and you know the answer better than I do, but I’ll say it aloud just to play ball:

        Because the builder makes more money, and people will buy the product.

        Then you asked:

        “What keeps lower cost homebuilders from entering and competing?”

        Now that’s a much tougher question to answer. It may be:

        a. capital allocation goes to the most profitable, e.g. the 400K builders like Toll Brothers

        b. stated differently, it’s a lot more difficult to compete on the margin you get @ 2-300K. As a builder, you take same risk, get less return. Which would you choose?

        When people stop buying @ avg cost $400K, then you’ll see builders migrate down to lower price points. Not until.

        Your core thesis – that U.S. labor is structurally precluded from competing due to high HH input costs…is still the Bonzo Point for today’s discussion IMHO.

        I’m coming at this same Q from a different angle. I’m trying to enable HHs to “opt out” of macro-market by substituting HH or local prod for macro-econ-production. Price is higher…but might yield fuller basket of bennies. That line was for you, Zantetsu.

        I know all you smart folk who have strong econ backgrounds just hurled. Hey, I get it. But if the “ridiculous” is your only option – and it might ultimately be – it may need to get done regardless of how hard (initially) it is.

        Chew on that a while.

        And for you Cas127, when the consumer no longer abides national econ dictates, a lot of …very interesting behavior ensues.

      • Tom20 says:

        Wow, great post. I’m small business in flyover.

        You summed it up well.

        Thank You

  18. michael earussi says:

    This is what happens when you neglect your own merchant marine, when you need it you haven’t got it.

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      American merchant marine is too expensive compared to seamen from foreign countries. American merchant marine has been atrophying for decades.

  19. Anon1970 says:

    It took me 2 months to get delivery of my exercise bike that I ordered in July and mentioned in a post a few days ago. So I am not surprised by your article. The price of the bike has gone up by at least $50 (over 8%), which probably reflects higher shipping costs from China to the US. Some third party sellers of the bike on Amazon appear to be price gouging, so beware.

  20. Martha Careful says:

    Apparently, this is ok?? This is super complex stuff that goes way off into the weeds and tall grasses … (don’t shoot the messenger)

    See: IN RE: VEHICLE CARRIER SERVICES ANTITRUST LITIGATION

    United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit.

    Nos. 15-3353
    Decided: January 18, 2017

    The District Court denied IPPs’ motion for reconsideration because it had determined that the Federal Maritime Commission (“FMC”) was the appropriate forum to hear the dispute 3 and because IPPs “did not identif[y] an intervening change in the controlling law, alert[ ] the Court to the availability of new evidence that was not available when the Court issued its Opinion, or allege[ ] that the Opinion was the result of a clear error of fact or law or will result in manifest injustice.” Joint App. 62-63.

    The Act provides federal antitrust immunity for agreements filed with the FMC that address these topics.8 The FMC reviews each filed agreement and can seek information about it. 46 U.S.C. § 40304. If the FMC takes no action on such an agreement, that agreement becomes effective,9 and, pursuant to § 40307(a), the federal antitrust laws, such as the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act, “do not apply to [such] an agreement.” 46 U.S.C. §§ 40102, 40307(a). Thus, activities described in § 40301 that are undertaken pursuant to agreements filed with the FMC are immune from federal antitrust laws.

    Plaintiffs allege that Defendants, who are ocean common carriers, entered into agreements to fix prices and reduce capacity in violation of federal antitrust laws and various state laws. Because the ocean common carriers allegedly engaged in acts prohibited by the Shipping Act of 1984, 46 U.S.C. § 40101 et seq. (the “Shipping Act” or the “Act”), and the Act both precludes private plaintiffs from seeking relief under the federal antitrust laws for such conduct and preempts the state law claims under circumstances like those presented here, the District Court correctly dismissed the complaints. We will therefore affirm.

    • VintageVNvet says:

      Unfortunately, if I read this correctly, this was only a procedural based decision, as are SO many in USA case law, mostly intended IMO to keep the litigation lawyers employed, etc., and to hell with ”justice” with the clear exception if plaintiff can PAY to continue.
      Worked for OJ as it should have; a clear example of how blind to race the so called ”justice” system that is, in fact, only another legal system gone bad as has so many such systems for the last 4000 years or so…
      ( OJ’s case just proved that a rich person of any colour can buy whatever ”justice” they want in the legal system of USA, just as has been the case for eva in all world to date… )

  21. DR DOOM says:

    Supply following demand and mark to market with price discovery is a good thing. Whether it’s containers or a fiat economy the government will muck this up if they stick their noses in it. Apparently we need Chinese Christmas Plastic at Wall-Mart more than China needs N.C. Smithfield hog meat. The up side is that we may get the Mc Ribb sandwich without the requisite mass drowning following a hurricane . Hillbillies like me might get to stock up on Boston Butts at hurricane drowning prices at $.89 a lb to put in the smoker. The boom and bust of Supply and Demand is a beautiful thing.

    • VintageVNvet says:

      Good to read this from ya DD,,,
      And a BIG 10-4 on the BB going back to where it should be as one of less attractive parts of our hogs..
      Just wish at this point we could get a few more folks interested in 2 legged hogs instead of those with 4 legs on the ground…
      Fact is they are so similar in being totally willing to gorge on any little extra ordinary feed stuff, as is obvious for readers of WS who understand.

  22. Jenny Howard says:

    On that chart of Durable Goods Purchases…

    Just eyeballing it, it seems like if you average out the recent spike, and the drop that preceded it, you end up with something close to the long term trend.

    @Wolf, can you confirm/refute that with the actual numbers?

    …and if it is true, what does it mean?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Jenny Howard,

      In October, spending on durable goods was up 15.2% year-over-year. This is clearly not the long the term trend. Even if durable goods are flat in November and December compared to October, they’d still be up by the double digits year-over-year for those months. YTD, durable goods are up 4.2% from a year ago, despite the plunge in the spring. For your theory to hold, durable goods in Nov and Dec would have to drop substantially from the October level.

      • EcuadorExpat says:

        Yes, but the question is, are the numbers up because of increased items or just increased prices?

        • Wolf Richter says:

          A mix. Some durable goods had huge price increases.

        • QQQBall says:

          Ecuador Expat,

          Hope you see this. How much is a washer machine, refrigerator, etc., in Ecuador. I am assuming of course that you expated to Ecuador. I think the typical monthly wage is like $400/Mo in Ecuador?

          Thanks

  23. RickRod says:

    For whatever it’s worth, I work for one of the big six railways in North America and our the wait times to get in and out of our intermodal yards have been rising steadily. Lots of idling semis.

    • VintageVNvet says:

      Thank you RR for your/the ”boots on the dirt” report…
      I been thinking that would be the ultimate choke point because of the ”’newness”’ of the intermodal model,,, but hoping that Buffet and his RR would prove it works better and more cost effectively and so on,,,
      And, most importantly, that the unions involved would see that it was in their very best interest of their members to not only embrace the process, but figure out how to make it work even better than the ivory tower folks could imagine,,,
      Thanks again, and please keep on commenting on here!

  24. China is buying ag products from Brazil to offset loss of US shipments. No one brought up the trade war agreement. China has only imported about 1/4 of its agreed to energy purchases 2020 from the US, despite record crude oil imports. Ag it appears is even worse. What kind of a crazy deal did they sign in the first place? You agree to buy 150% of my production and I agree to trash my dollar. If the US turned those ag products back into US consumption maybe the labor wage differential would be less dramatic but 92% of US corn is genetically engineered, which means nobody in the US will eat it, but they will take a GMO vaccine if their boss (and their labor boss) mandates it. Another round of checks all around. The punchbowl is watered down and turds are evident.

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      First time anyone has bothered to mention that the mRNA vaccines are another GMO product.

  25. Martha Careful says:

    Good old FRED has deep sea freight, but not too specific

    Producer Price Index by Industry: Deep Sea Freight Transportation, Index Jun 1988=100, Not Seasonally Adjusted (PCU483111483111)

  26. Tom S. says:

    The result of 2 years of a trade “war” that did next to nothing except slap the wrists of some Chinese commodity exporters. When you declare “war” on China, do you really think they will play fair? China was the first nation to flex on this virus issue by shutting down their manufacturing nationwide. That was an explicit act of economic warfare, a “don’t forget we make all your stuff”.

    Fast forward 9 months and as our service economy collapses due to this socioeconomic and healthcare crisis, we continue to stimulate and buy more and more from China. In the US we are now paying for more expensive everything all the way down to the containers the stuff is shipped in. If oil were more expensive we’d be seeing that inflation the Fed so desires. If it is trade warfare, as our administration so proudly declared, it seems like China is playing 3D Go and we are over here playing rock paper scissors.

    Not to mention more and more people here are starting to like the idea of free money without raising taxes. Using a weak dollar to bring manufacturing back will create a whole new slew of issues. Our population is aging and healthcare keeps going up because…wait for it….a ton of our healthcare equipment and drugs are made in China as well.

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      “China was the first nation to flex on this virus issue by shutting down their manufacturing nationwide. That was an explicit act of economic warfare, a “don’t forget we make all your stuff”.

      ROFL. What you are really saying is they don’t need money, unemployment will not become an issue in a country with 1.4 billion, etc, etc.

      They shut their economy down to control the virus in one go kinda like how a company would sometimes take a bloodbath in one quarter to clear out the old problems.

      If they are really doing economic warfare, they can just shut down their economy periodically, not just once. Oh wait, that’s what we are doing in America!!! Politicians earn full pay while they go to fancy restaurants and violate the restrictions they impose on the rest of the population.

      • Tom S. says:

        So what you’re saying is they shut down manufacturing for two weeks and the virus magically went away in a country of 1.4 billion people? Honestly, it doesn’t matter what they shut down for, all that matter is how those actions were perceived by the people in power in the West. And it seems to me the perception was “you shut down? Ok, we can shut er down, too. Let’s play this game of chicken.”

        Looks like about 1 million more people born per year from 1950-60 compared to 1940, so our inept government is dealing with the dying boomers and this is part of it. Hospitals are a for profit industry designed to run near maximum capacity. I personally can’t wait to pay for this coming healthcare disaster for the next 20 years, I’m enthused. Newsom is a moron, we can agree on that.

  27. Tom says:

    Corn, soybeans, wheat, meat, poultry, the main AG products do not use 20ft or 40ft shipping containers for transport. They use barges and other types of containers. I don’t understand how shipping container shell games have much of anything to do with US Agricultural products.

    • Sam says:

      Tom,

      Have never seen any containers w/AG* products at Port of PDX various ship loading facilities. Barges & rail bring grains/mineral bulks/liquid fertilizer to be loaded onto vessels for overseas clients.

      “Shell game” similar to intelligence community tradecraft of disinformation. Aka “creative truth telling”.

      *except for Xmas trees headed to HI/Asia

      • Wolf Richter says:

        Sam,

        You have no idea what’s inside a container — they’re not made out of see-through materials — unless you read the container bill of lading or other shipping documents. And even then you might know what’s inside a container, as customs finds out periodically when they physically check the contents of the container 🤣

    • Yort says:

      They key to happiness is never think too hard friend. Just like Congress passing a 5,500 page budget and stimulus bill today, just a couple of hours after it was printed at 2 p.m….all is well when you turn off your brain! (bible has 1200 pages so 5500 pages seems like too may to review…oh crap, I thought for second…bad brain, bad brain…)

      P.S. Yes a 20 ft cargo container only holds about 780 bu of grain (limited use for only specialty grain and very small shipments), yet the largest Panama Canal vessel built for grain transport without using containers can hold a little over 2 million bushels of soybeans. A barge can hold about 55,000 bushels, a 15 barge tow about 750,000 bu, a highway semi-truck trailer around 1,000 bushels (limited by 90,000 highway weight limits)…

      • Tony22 says:

        Anyone realize that containers wood floors are saturated with fungicides/pesticides? Who’d want to eat food made with grains in contact with that?

        Food that certified organic cannot have any ingredients shipped in any container that ever held toxins. Another way to keep your immunity up.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Tom,

      Nonsense. Check out the chart I posted above about containerized soybean exports. Also check out Dan Romig’s comment about soybeans a few comments below mine.

      In terms of meat, do you really think that anyone ships meat/poultry on a barge or bulk carrier to other countries???? Are you really this ignorant or are you just playing a dumb game or being sarcastic? Meat is always shipped in containers, frozen or refrigerated.

      Millions of other kinds of ag products that the US exports are shipped in containers, including wine, fruit, OJ, etc.

  28. Sierra Steve says:

    None of this is a surprise. Restaurant/hotel/airline spending has been diverted to goods. Mostly to online retailers.

    It’s usually (okay always) a bad idea to expect americans to save. They get a dollar in their pockets and they work out how to spend it.

  29. dr spock says:

    As we close out the year, I want to thank Wolf and so many commenters who have enlightened me or corroborated what I was thinking. I hope things really get better in the coming year, but I wouldn’t count on it.

    • VintageVNvet says:

      thank you DS,,, if for nothing more than your clear focus::
      at the middle of my 8th decade,,, i finally understand the wisdom of your comment;
      and count on nothing AKA not anything
      At this point in time, for me, to ”count on anything” is actually a clear ”abrogation” of responsibility,,, in spite of the fact that my children and their children do NOT want to hear about it…
      so, at this point, SO near to the end,,, I just do what I can with both the next generations, and just HOPE to encourage them all to do their best to investigate every opportunity to ”cultivate non attachment.”
      Wishing you all have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS,,, AND MAY WE ”ALL” HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR…

      • Tom Pfotzer says:

        And the very best to you, VVNet. And I echo dr. spock’s appreciation of both Wolf and the commenters.

        I learn a great deal @ this site. Much appreciation to each of you, and best wishes.

        “May you have a better day tomorrow”.

        Lifted that one from a WS-poster. You know who.

        Separately…

        The mug is filled, Wolf. Here’s to ya. Don’t never change.

        “and don’t call me Dim no more”.

        (trivia question, 100 pts: anyone remember where that line came from?)

        T.

  30. Swamp Creature says:

    Just looked at the label on my small powdered garlic spice bottle that I had in my spice rack. I purchased it from my local Giant supermarket . It says “Product of China”. So we’re now getting our food from China. What’s next?

    • TXRancher says:

      Plant my own garlic. Dehydrate it and then grind to make my own garlic powder.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        TXRancher,

        Awesome. I guess you can also use your garlic fresh for cooking, such as roasted garlic and the like. Goes great with steak. Would be quite the conversation starter…

  31. kitten lopez says:

    Yeah, thanks, Wolf. Got my first sale and i was burying the page on my site because i didn’t wanna do it. / but it was a sign i had to step up to… just cut/washed the first of the cloth i bought from the first installment with your mug job! the fabric shop was shutting down and selling this thick knit from Taiwan (better quality than Chinese). /

    so i’m quiet but kicking up magic in the Real. i haven’t been in the mood to dance… having the blues… hurrying up and mourning all i see coming (see in my day-to-day AND learn like Helen Keller feeling water and enunciating the words…that’s this site… your site enunciates actual words in Munch’s “Scream”… you’re Just the facts maam but with more heart.

    strangers hugging me from when i danced. i’ve been too blue to dance but we each have to force ourselves to be MORE now, don’t we? nothing’s too gauche melodramatic or silly anymore.

    just had to poke up out of my silent/brooding/manifesting/gestating “quiet” mode and second all those emotions above about this place, this site, and what’s underneath it. because without the solidity of this site, i couldn’t hope to plan my next moves.

    (i know i gush and you can be your cowboy self and just nod. i don’t need you EVER to respond. just take it… kick back and take the compliments without worrying…

    ooooh! i JUST had to go there, didn’t i? part of my Free Speech thing that’s the North Star of all my plans. all my nastiness is a nod of gratitude to the pornographers artists and bad asses. / yes! like Wolf. he started his own THING. he’s independent! look at what whores the media has become!

    we claw our way here in the sand desperate for someone to second our own emotions.

    Merry Christmas Happy Channukah Happy Kwaanza and Happy Winter Solstice to each of you here and beyond.

    may you solve all the fights and agree to disagree or laugh about any chafing that’s bound to happen over the holidays. we’re all stressed. ain’t nobody swaggering past any of this; not even Unamused or Petunia, and you all know how those two always seem to be at the next peak of this life thing, hours before we stagger in, they’re reclining, smoking a cigarette.

    x

  32. M says:

    As if we did not have enough problems, there is a new variety of covid now in the UK and other EU countries. There also is a separate strain spreading in S. Africa, as to which no information is available.

    The new UK strain is scary despite the media’s attempts to soothe the public. Dr. William Haseltine had an interview with CNN recently and indicated that it can resist clearing through convalescent plasma. That treatment works, because the antibodies of persons which succeeded in fighting a coronavirus variant are taken from them by drawing their blood, cleaned of red blood cells (etc.) to leave them in only a relatively-pure plasma and then the plasma with the antibodies is used to drive down the coronavirus in patients.

    Thus, while human antibodies are random, it is a bad sign that this new variant from the UK can resist such treatment. Left Right and Center, an Indian TV program had a WHO expert who said that the variant had 23 chromosomes changed for to the spike protein, which spike glycoprotein is reportedly the target for all our existing vaccines to my knowledge.

    If this variant has a R0 of 1.6, regardless of the careful, diligent measures in the UK, which result in the original variant having currently only an R0 of 1.1 with masks, etc., its spike glycoprotein might be substantially different.

    Most reported vaccines are based on triggering the vaccinated’s cells’ manufacture of existing COVID’s bare, spike glycoproteins by injecting RNA that causes cells to produce that bare spike portion (not the whole virus). Thereafter, the bare spike’s presence then triggers an immune response (creation of antibodies) which is then effective against the similar spike in a living coronavirus.

    IF this new variant is so much more infectious, its spike glycoproteins may be different and thereby, the existing, approved vaccines may not be effective or as effective against it. I hope that this danger is not missed this time and the authorities stop all flights coming into the USA from the EU and any other country that experienced any infections with this variant.

    (The existing covid strain’s 1.1 R0 with precautions is much less than the 1.6 R0 of this new, UK variant, DESPITE all the UK masks and precautions. The UK has a much better better health system than the USA, where millions cannot even access health care, so they can serve as virus reservoirs.) This new virus sounds like something from a horror movie, much more so than even the original COVID 19, frankly.

    It is hitting when so many of our, US hospitals are already overwhelmed or nearly so. I feel sad for owners of any airline or cruise or restaurant or hospitality stocks.

  33. M says:

    I forgot the add the key point: of the antibodies in the numerous, recovered, COVID 19 patients’ convalescent plasma given after they recovered to ill patients were not sufficient to drive the new variant of this UK virus down in those patients, PEOPLE WHO HAD COVID 19 ALREADY and recovered MIGHT BE VULNERABLE TO THIS NEW, UK COVID 19 VARIANT!

  34. K says:

    UK, new, COVID 19 strain = RIP airlines, etc.

  35. char says:

    There are stories that a lot of containers are used as storage for Brexit. That makes sense. Then there are the containers filled with stuff that can’t be sold because of covid.

  36. Liberty Writer says:

    “Chalk it up to the Weirdest Economy Ever.”

    Chalk it up to another Government Run Economy.

    Lack of freedom and misalocation of resources to hand in hand.

  37. Ron says:

    Wolf fantastic stuff u report fair honest happy holidays to all want to stop inflation don’t buy cut below off at knees materialized don’t matter common sense I was taught to buy one item at a time save money buy next thing my finances are great every time I pay interest banks get a piece of you anyway to a brighter future

  38. Sgt Grumble says:

    Containers seem to be on Craigslist for the same price as ever.

Comments are closed.