October imports turn in strong performance, reports Panjiva
By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor-LM
The ongoing trend of very positive momentum for United States-bound waterborne shipments remained firmly intact in October, according to data released this week by global trade intelligence firm Panjiva.
October shipments rose 3.2% annually to 1,016,892, which was ahead of September’s 976,605, while the annual spread in October was down compared to September’s 4.9%. Panjiva said this represents the eighth consecutive month of growth and 15 of the last 16 months.
On a year-to-date basis through October, shipments are up 3.6% annually compared to the same period a year ago at 9,629,017. Panjiva said this tally marks a record for the first ten months of the year, adding that it quells concerns related to what it called a “protectionist crimp on trade” stemming from President Trump’s policies that have yet to take effect.
“This is another great month in a year of great months, and things are on track for another record,” said Panjiva Research Director Chris Rogers in an interview. “It is an easy call to make. Globally, trends are very strong, with trade across Asia in China, Taiwan, and Japan all very strong. There is also strong growth in what we call the new manufacturing economies like Thailand and Vietnam, whom are seeing highs in U.S.-bound import levels.”
Rogers observed that one thing that may be aiding the import numbers is that deliveries, or imports, may be arriving later than in previous years. He explained there might be a degree of that for things like apparel and toys. For toys, specifically, he said some of the more in demand toys for the holiday season are arriving later in the year compared to previous years, which is delaying import activity.
“October looks better than it might otherwise compared to a year earlier, too, because last year there were issues related to Hanjin Shipping’s financial issues, which is evidenced with the recent strong import numbers out of the Port of Long Beach,” said Rogers.
On a macroeconomic level, Rogers said things remain solid, but there is a possibility 2018 could be slower at least early on, as it will be coming off of Peak Season, as well as new capacity being built by ocean carriers such as CMA CGM and possibly Yang Ming, among others.
For all of 2017, Panjiva expects total imports to hit 11.51 million, which would be a 3.3% annual improvement, over the current record from 2016.
“Continued strength – albeit fading somewhat – in both business expectations and consumer confidence (at near 17 year highs) would suggest imports will continue to grow in the remainder of the year,” Rogers wrote in a research note. “That’s assuming, of course, that no significant protectionist measures are implemented at late notice.”
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