Panjiva data shows a 5 percent decrease in U.S.-bound shipments
Data from Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers, indicated that the number of global manufacturers shipping to the United States fell in October for the second straight month, following modest gains the previous two months.
From September to October, U.S.-bound shipments were off by 5 percent at 1,031,369. In September, there was a 6 percent decline at 1,054,994. In August, there was a 1 percent bump at 1,136,601 shipments, and in July there was a 0.2 percent increase. Panjiva also reported there was a 2 percent decrease in the number of global manufacturers shipping to the U.S. market to 141,255, as well as a 2 percent decrease in the number of U.S. companies receiving waterborne shipments from global manufacturers.
Although the number of U.S.-bound global manufacturing shipments was down again, Panjiva data notes that over the last six months the one million shipment mark has been topped consistently. This mark was not reached in any month in 2009 and shows some evidence of at least a modest economic recovery.
“These numbers were not terribly surprising,” said Panjiva CEO Josh Green in an interview. “In previous years, September to October has been flat or slightly up, and this year we were definitively down.”
For this same period in 2009, U.S.-bound shipments were up 3 percent, and in 2008 shipments were up 1 percent, according to Panjiva.
Green said that the shipment data for October primarily represents orders that were made “fairly late in the game” once it was clear consumer sentiment was not bouncing back. Earlier in the year, Green said, there was a feeling that by the time the holiday season came around consumers would be spending again, but as the summer moved along, it became clearer that was not the trajectory of the economy.
“As a result of this, people that were making buying decisions for corporations exercised caution, and that is what we are seeing in these numbers,” said Green. “Companies knew they would have more inventory than they like for the holiday season, and it was time to bring the ordering down a bit.”
Even though shipments are up compared to 2009 and 2008, Green said that the economy is far from a robust recovery mode, adding that there are some seasonal components at play as well in the most recent batch of data. If seasonal patterns hold, Green said there are likely to be dips through February, and he said he expects that pattern to hold, with the effects of cautious buying patterns remaining intact over the next several months.
But if the holiday season does turn out better than expected, Green said it will influence corporate buying behavior, which will likely play out in the form of increased shipment numbers during the second quarter of 2011—with declines still likely through the remainder of 2010 and into early 2011.