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Expand chart
Data: Baltic Exchange: Chart: Axios Visuals

The Baltic Dry Index, a bellwether of the maritime shipping industry, continues to sink and a main component has fallen below zero to a record low, the Wall Street Journal reported.

What's happening: The Baltic Exchange’s capesize index, a component of the Baltic Dry Index that tracks the world's largest dry-bulk carriers, dug deeper into negative territory Tuesday, after going negative on Friday for the first time.

Why it matters: The Baltic Dry Index is seen as representative of demand for raw materials, which can be an early indicator of increasing or decreasing global growth. The index fell by more than 90% in just a few months in 2008.

Yes, but: The index is "much more complicated than the guys on CNBC or the WSJ would have you believe," a spokesperson for the Baltic Exchange tells Axios.

  • "This is an index of freight rates. ... It’s based on the assessment at a specific time by brokers who are specialists in the various routes."
  • "It's important to remember we’re neither in the Baltic, nor an exchange."

Fun fact: The capesize index is so named because it tracks only ships too large to fit through the Suez or Panama canals that must pass through the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn.

Go deeper: Climate change is opening a new era in Arctic shipping

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Government website for free COVID tests launches early

COVID-19 rapid at-home test kits. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The website where Americans can request free, at-home rapid COVID-19 tests from the government launched Tuesday and is now accepting orders.

Driving the news: The website went live in its beta phase and is operating at a limited capacity a day before its official launch. Every home in the U.S. is eligible for up to four COVID tests, according to the website.

AT&T, Verizon extend 5G delay over airline panic

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

AT&T and Verizon said Tuesday they would delay lighting up its 5G signals near a limited number of airports after renewed opposition from the aviation industry over concerns about signal interference.

Why it matters: The CEOs of leading airlines warned of catastrophic disruption to flights if AT&T and Verizon deployed 5G as planned this week.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Ukraine crisis: Blinken to visit Kyiv, then meet Russian foreign minister

Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Friday, following a trip to Kyiv to reinforce U.S. support for Ukraine in the face of a possible Russian invasion, according to a senior U.S. official.

Why it matters: The meeting with Lavrov suggests a diplomatic resolution to the crisis may still be on the table, despite the collapse of security talks between Russia and the West last week.