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Panjiva points to gains for U.S.-bound shipments in October


November 15, 2016

Growth for United States-bound waterborne shipments in October took a step forward in October, according to data issued by Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers.

October shipments––at 982,387––were up 5.6 percent compared to September and up 7.4 percent annually for its fastest pace since February, as well as marking the fourth straight month of import growth.

Panjiva noted that furnishing imports led the way, up 10 percent compared to September, and autos were up 5 percent. Non-durables apparel dipped 0.4 percent, and toys saw a slight 0.5 percent gain ahead of the holidays. Globally, imports from the EU were up 14 percent on a rolling quarter basis, which Panjiva said was likely due to the strong dollar, while China’s waterborne exports were also up.

On a year-to-date basis through October, total imports are up 1.5 percent at 9,277,540 for its best tally for this period going back to February 2012, with the expectation that full-year 2016 annual growth could reach 1.9 percent at 11.08 million shipments.

“This data really shows that trade is quite resilient to shocks, with the logistics sector doing an awesome job handling the Hanjin crisis, coupled with the possibility that some items that did not move in September moved in October,” said Panjiva Research Director Chris Rogers in an interview. “Also, both industry and consumers remained reasonably upbeat and happy to spend at retailers ahead of the election. But now there is the question of what a President Trump means to the rest of the world.”

Rogers likened October in the U.S. to May in England, with many Americans in October not expecting Trump to win and many in England not expecting Brexit to occur, with the takeaway that nothing can be taken for granted.

And for some stakeholders that could lead to a more conservative approach in the U.S., given that Trump’s trade policies are essentially unknown at this point, which Rogers said could leave consumers less optimistic than they were before.

“The import impacts of a Trump administration from an economic perspective could lead to inflation heading up along with wages, which could make things feel better,” he said. “There could be an increase in imports, too, sooner rather than later, which could lead to some benefits, but it is a very difficult set of tea leaves to read.”


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