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Panjiva data from December to January shows U.S.-bound trade moving in the right direction

February 21, 2012

Data from Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers, showed gains from December to January for both United States-bound waterborne shipments and the number of manufacturers shipping to the U.S.

For U.S.-bound waterborne shipments, Panjiva reported a 12 percent gain from December’s 956,879 to January’s 1,067,355. On an annual basis, January shipments were up nearly 5 percent. And sequentially, this is ahead of a 7 percent decrease from November to December and a 0.2 percent gain from October to November.

The 12 percent gain in December to January shipments fell short of last year’s 17 percent bump, but it is ahead of previous years, including -3 percent from December January 2007 to January 2008, -2 percent from December 2008 to January 2009, and -3 percent from December 2009 to January 2010, according to Panjiva data.

In an interview with LM, Panjiva CEO Josh Green said that seasonality in trade has been pretty consistent, but January represents what he described as a flip-flop.

“For several years, December to January resulted in a modest decline, with last year being the first time we saw a significant increase from December to January,” said Green. “We are seeing that again this year and there appears to be a bit of a shift in terms of the trade pattern. But there is no question seasonal impacts are significant and will continue to be so next month with a February decline. There is also no question that the data looks relatively healthy in an absolute sense. We are running about 5 percent ahead of where we were in January 2011 for shipments.”

For manufacturers, Panjva reported a 3 percent gain in the number of global manufacturers shipping to the U.S., with January’s 145,520 ahead of December’s 140,656. Compared to January 2011’s 143,036, January 2012 was up nearly 2 percent.

And with continued promising signs of economic improvement in recent weeks, despite ongoing issues pertaining to the European economy, Green said that the global trade outlook is feeling better but cautioned that it is too early to proclaim a strong recovery is underway.

“Things are feeling a bit better but the Europe situation represents a red flag on the horizon,” he observed. “We are still in a place where things can be considered resolved. The price of oil is also an X factor, too. But the recent jobs numbers are encouraging and that is going to give corporate buyers the confidence to invest a bit more.”

Another wildcard to look out for, said Green, is the Chinese economy. Loosening on the monetary side in China suggests that the Chinese are concerned about a potential hard landing for the economy,” said Green. But if anything major were to occur on that front, he said it could subsequently have a big impact on trade.

Looking ahead, Green noted that February is likely to be down, as the Chinese New Year typically “wreaks havoc” on trade data in January and February.

“All in all things look pretty good in 2012 so far,” he said.

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About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman


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