The Baltic Dry Index, which predicted the economic collapses of 1987 and 2008 when it fell in both years, is now at an all-time low.

The index tracks the cost to ship various commodities across the world and thus is frequently used to gauge the health of the economy.

When the cost to ship goods declines, it indicates international trade is slowing down, and there does appear to be an unusual amount of container ship simply anchored in the open ocean outside Shanghai, China, the world’s busiest cargo port, according to

“When you consider that the Baltic Dry is lower than it has ever been at the same time as the world’s markets are undergoing a period of intense volatility in asset classes from stocks to oil to rough rice, it’s not such a stretch to imagine a crash could be around the corner,” Business Insider reported.

The Baltic Dry also slumped to a 12-year low in 1999 right before the dot-com bubble burst.

“We are now at the stage where people are struggling to remember an era when it was this difficult, we’ve gone through what it was like in the 90s, the 80s and the 70s, so expressions like ‘living memory’ start to apply,” said Jeremy Penn, the chief executive of the Baltic Exchange in London. “Ship owners are facing the tough decision of whether to just drop anchor and hope it gets better.”

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