Panjiva data shows slight sequential improvements in global trade activity from September to October
After alarming declines from August to September, data from Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers, indicated that global trade activity showed a bit of a “leveling off” from September to October.
Panjiva reported that the number of United States-bound waterborne shipments—at 1,027,973—was down 0.2 percent from September to October and was off 0.4 percent annually.
This is significantly better than the 8 percent decline from August to September, although with the slight sequential decline shipments dropped for the third time in the last seven months. In 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007 September to October shipments were down 2 percent, up 3 percent, up 1 percent and up 2 percent, respectively, said Panjiva.
And manufacturers shipping to the U.S. came in at 141,999 for a 0.4 percent gain from September to October and a 0.5 percent annual hike. In 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007 the number of manufacturers shipping to the U.S. from September to October was down 2 percent, up 3 percent, up 1 percent, and up 2 percent, respectively.
Given the current global economic environment, with ongoing uncertainty regarding the Euro and related sovereign debt issues in Greece and southern Europe, Panjiva CEO Josh Green told LM that this most recent batch of numbers was better than expected, given how difficult August to September was.
“I was expecting bad news,” said Green. “The concern was that this was a trajectory, and I think what appears to be the case is that some orders in past years that may have come in September ended up coming in October. The October numbers—given all that is going on in the world—should be viewed as positive.”
With shipments rebounding to a certain degree from September to October, Green explained this reflects how the economy is in a ‘post-2008’ world, when the Great Recession began, compared to a ‘pre-2008’ world.
The reason for this is that myriad retailers and manufacturers were stuck with extra inventory from 2008 to 2009, and as they began planning for the holiday season in subsequent years there has been more of a cautious approach to planning shipments and related supply chain activities.
“One of the differences between this year and last year is that last year there hope we were in the midst of a true recovery,” said Green. “People were being cautious, but there seemed to be an anticipation of needing to prepare for the coming growth. Now, I think, that anticipation is balanced by fear about what is going on in the macroeconomic environment, coupled with people being just plain cautious. Right now, all eyes are focused on what is happening in Europe and assessing how the holiday season is going to turn out for retailers. What happens on those two fronts will tell us a lot about what is going to happen in 2012.”