Panjiva data shows a 14 percent decline in U.S.-bound shipments from November to December
In another sign that the pace of the economic recovery remains bumpy, data from Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers, noted that the number of waterborne shipments entering the United States dropped 14 percent from November to December.
This follows a 2 percent decline from October to November and marks the fourth straight month U.S.-bound waterborne shipments have been down.
December shipments came in at 868,365, following November’s 1,013,564, said Panjiva officials.
And with U.S.-bound waterborne shipments down, the number of global manufacturers also dipped, falling 9 percent from November to December to 118,728, which was ahead of previous declines, including 1 percent and 5 percent decreases in 2007 and 2008, respectively, according to Panjiva. The company also pointed out that the previous high for global manufacturers shipping to the U.S. was a 10 percent drop in February 2009.
In an interview with Modern, Panjiva CEO described December’s data as grim.
“These numbers, though, are not terribly surprising,” said Green. “We would definitely expect to see seasonal declines from August-September down through February. But the decline was pretty steep, and my read on it is that these are the shipments that were the result of orders placed before the holiday season. What was going on, was that people did not know how the holiday season was going to turn out, and nobody wanted to be receiving a lot of inventory after that until they had more clarity about what direction the economy was going in.”
Green added that it was hard for companies to look past the holiday season and as a result did not order significant quantities for post-holiday season, with the result being a significant November to December drop-off.
Early into this year, Green said the most businesses are confident that the economy is in a stable place as far as demand goes, with more concern focusing on the trajectory of costs of things like labor and raw materials, which are heading up, and pose a concern that consumers are not going to accept price increases, with businesses having to accept lower margins.
“That is the greater concern right now, with demand somewhat stabilizing and is a nice change from where we have been,” said Green.