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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
As the world economy has slowed economists are beginning to look for signs of whether it's headed toward recovery or recession. One of the most popular metrics is global trade, which unfortunately is flashing divergent signals.
On one hand: Torsten Slok, chief international economist at Deutsche Bank, argues that global trade is rebounding.
The Harpex and Dry Baltic shipping indexes, which track global container and raw materials shipping, both suggest global trade bottomed toward the beginning of the year and started improving.
On the other hand: The shipping numbers are contradicted by the worsening picture in manufacturing around the world. As we detailed Friday, Germany's manufacturing numbers have been ugly and the same is true for much of the euro zone.
Globally, it's the same story. In February, IHS Markit released its most recent report on global PMI numbers, titled, "Worldwide manufacturing growth close to stalling as trade flows deteriorate."
"The economy is spinning its wheels and not gaining any traction yet in this soft patch produced by trade wars and stock market turbulence and the government shutdown," Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG, told Reuters.
Bloomberg's PMI tracker, which follows every region in the world, shows data have slowly moved two levels down from "improving" for much of 2018 to "neutral" at the start of 2019.
China, the No. 1 trading partner with most of the world, saw its PMI fall into contraction in February and record the weakest reading since February 2016.
Some economists have come to prefer the Harpex Index, developed by Harper Petersen & Co., over the more well-known Baltic Dry Index (BDI) as a metric for global shipping because it follows changes in freight rates for container ships and tracks mostly finished goods.
BDI tracks freight costs for ships that typically carry bulk cargoes and raw materials like coal, ore and grain, which can be less elastic or responsive to changes in demand.
Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Lyft will begin its roadshow today, expecting to draw a fully-diluted valuation between $23 billion and $25.3 billion for its IPO.
Why it matters: That's as much as $10 billion more than its most recent private valuation in early 2018. The range will likely put the price between $62 and $68 a share, but could change by the time of the IPO.
Headlines for Boeing continued to worsen over the weekend.
Driving the news: The FAA delegated the task of safety assessments for Boeing's 737 MAX jets to the company itself, which came back with several crucial flaws in an effort to catch up to Airbus and certify the planes, according to a Seattle Times report.
What you may not have heard: While Boeing and its MCAS flight control system have rightfully been much of the focus, Abdi Latif Dahir of Quartz writes that the tragic incident also "showcased the significance of the Addis Ababa-Nairobi route as a vital economic and trade corridor."
Investors have never responded as negatively to a debut of a new Tesla product as they did after last week's Model Y event, Axios' Courtenay Brown writes.
What they're saying: Deutsche Bank analyst Emmanuel Rosner called the event "somewhat underwhelming with no major surprises."
Jeffrey Osborne, an analyst at Cowen, said the Model Y wouldn't ignite "elevated demand or enthusiasm for the Tesla brand."
Between the lines: Tons of questions remain about the Model Y — none of which were acknowledged at the event.
There are also concerns the problems that plagued previous Tesla vehicles will hit the Model Y.
In President Trump's view, self-driving cars are a menace to society, Axios' Jonathan Swan writes.
Why it matters: Most Americans share Trump's perspective: 71% of U.S. drivers would be afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle, per AAA. Yet his own administration is encouraging AV development by removing barriers and issuing voluntary guidance instead of regulations.
Behind the scenes: In conversations on Air Force One and in the White House, Trump has acted out scenes of self-driving cars veering out of control and crashing into walls. He's said he doesn't think autonomous vehicles make sense, according to four sources who've heard him discuss the subject.
In one of the early 2017 meetings with CEOs in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Elon Musk and Trump shared a lighthearted exchange about Tesla's "Autopilot" technology. Trump told Musk he preferred traditional cars, according to a source who was in the room.
While Trump is in no hurry to see automated vehicles, Chao is actively promoting the technology.
The bottom line: Currently, there are no federal regulations on self-driving cars — just a hodgepodge of state rules.
Between the lines: A source who has discussed autonomous vehicles with Trump says he thinks it wouldn't take much for the president to rapidly reverse his administration's hands-off approach to hands-free vehicles. Trump already calls self-driving cars out-of-control death traps, so any news fueling that fear could jolt him into action.