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Let's Just Hope Shipping Isn't Telling the Real Story of China

  • Shipping index falls to record at time when it should rally
  • Coal, iron-ore imports in first reversal for more than decade
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China's Economy: More Volatility Ahead in 2016?

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Investors betting that China’s near-insatiable appetite for industrial raw materials will drive global economic growth may want to skip the shipping news.

For the first time in at least a decade, combined seaborne imports of iron ore and coal -- commodities that helped fuel a manufacturing boom in the world’s second-largest economy -- are down from a year earlier. While demand next year may be a little better, slower-than-anticipated growth in 2015 has led to almost perpetual disappointment for shippers, after analysts’ predictions at the end of 2014 for a rebound proved wrong.