Panjiva data shows slight gains in U.S.-bound shipments
The number of global manufacturers shipping to the United States inched up from July to August, according to data from Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers.
Following a 0.2% increase from June to July, July to August was stronger, with a 1% bump in U.S.-bound shipments (1,138,601 shipments), according to Panjiva. While there have been gains in the last two months, these tallies still trail the first half of the year, which saw a 9% spike from April to May and matching 3% gains for the previous two months.
On a year-over-year basis, August shipments were up 15%.
Panjiva also reported that there was a 4% increase in the number of U.S. companies receiving waterborne shipments from global manufacturers in August, following a 2% gain from June to July. This edges out a 3% annual gain from the same period last year and flat growth in 2008.
Panjiva CEO Josh Green told Modern he was encouraged by the most recent numbers.
“There had been some speculation that we had already seen the peak of 2010 in July,” said Green. “And that appears not to have been the case. It suggests that when [shippers] placed their orders a couple months ago they were feeling relatively bullish about this year’s holiday season. There is some possibility, though, that companies were overly optimistic and over-ordered in which case they will be stuck with too much inventory. We have to hope that between now and the holiday season, consumer confidence shores up a bit so retailers are not disappointed.”
Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, given relatively low retail sales numbers and consumer confidence levels in recent months on the heels of a fairly strong first half of 2010. One encouraging sign was today’s Department of Commerce report regarding the trade deficit, which fell from a 2010 high $49.8 billion in June down to $42.8 billion in July, with the $196.1 billion in imports $4.2 billion less than June. And the Institute of Supply Management’s Manufacturing index has seen consistent growth for more than a year. More concerning data appears to be sluggish GDP growth and underwhelming durable goods orders.
Green said that it appears global trade is currently on a seasonal path despite the lack of robust, exciting economic growth. But that is not the say that 4% month-to-month gains in U.S. shipments will continue either.
“The typical track is the peak month in August and then beginning a slow decline through December and into the first quarter of next year for a slow, steady decline,” said Green. “Global trade is about as healthy as it can be with consumer confidence being where it is. We need to see consumer confidence improvements before we seen any significant growth in global trade activity.”