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Axle Monthly Update: April 2024

April 9, 2024

April showers bring May flowers... and produce?


Cargo ship Dali crashes into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore

Early the morning of March 28th the cargo ship Dali lost power and propulsion causing it to drift into supports for the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. The ship, which standing upright is nearly as tall as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, was carrying roughly 4,700 containers at the time of the crash. The bridge collapsed completely. Crews are working hard to clean up the wreckage and to reopen the port as soon as possible but disruptions are to be expected. Officials hope to resume normal operations at the Port of Baltimore by the end of May 2024. In the meantime, typical demand patterns will be disrupted as cargo is rerouted through alternative ports along the east coast of the US. There is currently no timetable set for the reconstruction of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.


Economic indicators improved slightly in February following January’s discouraging numbers which were negatively impacted by winter weather. However, after increases in both the new orders and production components of the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index last month, both have now fallen back into contraction territory. The new orders component fell to 48.4% (-3.3 points) while the production component fell to 49.2% (-2.0 points). Housing starts on the other hand jumped 10.7% m/m and sales of single-family homes jumped 10.3%. Overall industry forecasts remain relatively unchanged.

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