This is the BDI (Baltic Dry Index) it shows the shipping rates for commodities. This index is non-speculative as these rates are set based on professional assessments made by a panel of international shipbroking companies[Link]. The index fell from about 10,000 to 773 in 3 months. In May 08 shipping a ton of dry bulk from Australia to China cost $45. Today it cost$4. A collapse of more than 90%. Imagine if you were a shipping company, at BDI=10,000 or 7000 you're making healthy profits, borrowing to build new ships and expanding capacity because the margins are so healthy. At 773, shipping companies are seeing losses with every shipment. It is not unusual for shipping rates to fluctuate as we go through economic cycles but this time it did not fluctuate - it collapsed. Within 3 months healthy shipping companies suddenly find themselves in danger of insolvency. What happened in shipping is a microcosm of what is happening in the global economy. In the words of the macro economists in PIMCO, the global economy had a HEART ATTACK.
In July 2008, the economy was like a unhealthy overweight feller with high blood pressure, high cholesterol...clogged arteries and a bad heart. But in mid-Sept 2008, the collapse of Lehman Brothers triggered a heart attack. If you recall, the US govt bravely proclaimed "no more bailouts" prior to the collapse of Lehman. A week after the collapse of Lehman, they asked for $700B to bailout everyone else.... the collapse of Lehman put the overweight feller in ICU. The $700B was like a defibrillator to prevent the economy from sudden death. Now in ICU day to day different problems appear - the heart is weak so the kidneys are failing (GM?) , so is the liver ...and other organs.