Waterborne Imports on Rise, Says Panjiva
April 14, 2017
Data recently issued by Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers showed that United States-bound waterborne imports saw a nice recovery in March from a sluggish February.
March imports––at 855,511–– were up 7 percent annually and up 1.9 percent compared to February, which Panjiva said marked the first time there was not an annual increase since June 2016 and was also the first month import readings under the Trump administration. The annual increase in March is the highest gain since a 9.1 percent gain in December, although it trailed the 13.7 percent March spike in 2015, a number which was buoyed by the West Coast port strike.
For the entire first quarter, Panjiva said imports––at 2,628,715––were up 1.4 percent annually.
March imports from China and Hong Kong were up 20.9 percent annually, which also was its fastest rate since the same month in 2015 and was not impacted by the Lunar New Year, as was the case in February.
Panjiva Research Director Chris Rogers commented in a research note that one item that will be particularly unwelcome to the Trump administration will be the rise in imports of autos and components, which were up 6.9 percent and grew for the eighth straight month and the fastest undisputed rate since October 2014. Iron and steel imports headed up 25.3 percent, which he said may cause the Commerce Department “to take another look at the industry.” Furnishing imports were up 19.8 percent, and apparel dropped for the tenth consecutive month.
“The import acceleration may be following fundamentals rather than concerns (or otherwise) about trade policy action,” Rogers wrote. “Consumer confidence in the U.S. hit its highest since December 2000 in March according to CNBC, while business import expectations remained in positive (if slowing) territory. In the previous six years around 23.0% of full year imports had been completed. On the basis of progress so far this year that would suggest imports for the year could rise 2.6% on a year earlier, though it is very early to be making a firm prediction.”
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