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Today’s Pickup: Spooked about midterms and economic volatility?

(Image: Shutterstock)

Good Day, 

For the impact of midterms on the economy, Jason Schenker, author of Midterm Economics: The Impact of Midterm Elections on Financial Markets and the Economy, tells FreightWaves that fundamental policy changes won’t happen over the next two years leading up to the general election regardless of which party wins out. Freight could see transactional friction from the USMCA deal (formerly NAFTA). Also, higher interest rates is negative for capital purchases, business investment, and equipment purchases. The trade policy with China is something to keep an eye on as well. The slowing housing and auto and equipment sales with the tariffs and higher interest rates could see some real downside.

For the general elections, leading up to 2020, there’s one factor to consider, and that’s the unemployment rate. Over the past 100 years there’s only one economic indicator that matters: the unemployment rate. Again, it’s the lowest since 1969. Whatever that rate is, if the rate is higher than that in October of 2020 the president is unlikely to get re-elected. GDP doesn’t matter. Only if there’s a change in the unemployment rate. Hoover saw a change. Ford, Carter, and George H.W. Bush saw a change, and they’re the only ones not to be re-elected in the last 100 years.

Did you know?

Crude oil prices are likely to start trending upwards if equities markets stay bullish over the week. Diesel prices could also start to trend up by next week if crude traders continue seeing both strong demand and supply-tightening factors.

Quotable:

“Nothing requires the USDOT to begin a rule making that will recognize a hair test in lieu of a urine exam. The FAST Act only directs HHS to write guidelines that the USDOT can use, should it proceed to officially recognize hair testing.” 

—Lane Kidd, managing director of The Trucking Alliance

In other news:

Scant liquidity, continued spending and inflated deposits highlight Tesla’s 10-Q disclosures

After the lovefest that was Tesla’s second quarter earnings call, then there was Tesla’s 10-Q filing several days later. (Forbes)

EasyJet expects to be flying electric planes by 2030

EasyJet has pushed back its forecast for flying electric planes to 2030, but is more confident about a technology it expects to cut emissions and costs. (Reuters)

Startup Deliv raises $40 million in home-delivery arms race

Investment is the latest in rash of funding for crowdsourced courier firms. (WSJ)

U.S. ban threatens Beijing’s ambitions as tech power

Fujian Jinhua depends on a handful of American suppliers that provide design and engineering for equipment used to make semiconductors. (WSJ)

IMO ‘kills remaining hopes for requiring the building of more efficient containerships’

Efforts to decarbonize the shipping sector have taken a step back after the IMO overturned plans for new design standards. (The Loadstar)

Final Thoughts:

According to SONAR, last week the major west coast ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach reported all-time high volume for the month of September. With tariffs on Chinese goods increasing on January 1st from 10% to 25%, supply chain managers across the country have been trying to get as much inventory into their warehouses as possible. Possibly the most interesting price activity resulting from this is the decreasing “Panama Spread” value (FBX.PANA), the cost differential between shipping a 40-foot container from China to the North American West Coast (FBX.CNAW) versus the North American East Coast (FBX.CNAE).

Hammer down, everyone! 

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Chad Prevost

Chad is radio host and broadcast media specialist for FreightWaves.
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