Panjiva data shows another dip in U.S.-bound shipments
The number of global manufacturers shipping to the United States slipped from June to July, according to data from Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers.
June saw a 1% uptick from May, while July was up just 0.2% from June, making the month-to-month growth essentially flat. This does not the follow the trend of increased economic and trade activity from the first half of the year, which featured a 9% spike from April to May and matching 3% gains for the previous two months, according to Panjiva data.
What’s more, July’s data was up 14% year-over-year and down 0.4% compared to 2008.
Panjiva also reported that there was a 2% increase in the number of U.S. companies receiving waterborne shipments from global manufacturers in July, following a 1% increase in June. But these numbers do not fare well when compared to a 12% June to July rise in 2009 and an 8% pick up for the same period in 2008.
“These results feel like the economy is treading water, which, all things considered, is not terrible,” said Panjiva CEO Josh Green in an interview. “But we are certainly not seeing any signs of a robust recovery.”
And with various recent indicators pointing to an uncertain economic outlook, including a higher than expected trade deficit in June, which hit its highest level since October 2008 at $49.9 billion, and imports growing 3% to $200.3 billion, as reported by the United States Department of Commerce, Green’s “treading water” hypothesis appears to be spot-on.
Other factors, cited by Green, which are contributing to continued uncertainty, include low consumer confidence and a high unemployment levels.
“We are in a holding pattern,” said Green. “In the next few months, we could see shipments arriving with merchandise heading for stores for the holiday season. And in the month ahead we are going to learn about businesses’ expectations for the holiday season; that will be telling.”
When asked if there could be a discernible uptick in holiday spending that could result in rising import numbers, Green said any gains are highly likely to be very modest, explaining that retailers are not willing to go out on a limb and bet on heavy consumer spending during this year’s holiday season.
Going forward, Green said all eyes will be on consumer confidence for future economic growth, with employment numbers playing a direct role in how things shake out, which, in turn, would make businesses more comfortable spending money, coupled with businesses ramping up their buying activity, too.