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Global trade has a bounce back month, according to Panjiva data

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
May 06, 2014

Data released by Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers, showed an improvement in global trade activity from February to March after a lackluster February.

U.S.-bound waterborne shipments in March—at 1,066,961—was up 20 percent annually and up 8 percent from February to March. This sequential change was well ahead of a 15 percent February to March decline in 2013 and in line with a 14 percent gain for the same period in 2012.

The number of global manufacturers shipping to the U.S in March—154,431—was up 7 percent compared to March 2013 and was flat from February to March. For the same sequential period in 2013, shipments were down 10 percent and in 2012 they were up 6 percent.

In its blog posting with the most recent batch of data, Panjiva said that the numbers in March represent a welcome change from February and follow the pattern of recent years the firm has measured, which show March imports topping February levels. What’s more, it noted that the number of manufacturers was flat while there was an increase in the number of buyers importing into the United States at 2 percent, which Panjiva said it is a trend it hopes to see continue in April and pave the way for a strong second quarter.

The downturn in February activity was due in part to Chinese New Year and usually plays a role in February numbers, noted Panjiva CEO Josh Green.

Looking at global trade numbers on a year-to-date basis, Green said total first quarter shipments are up 7 percent at 3,220,184.

“That figure reinforces the conclusion that we are off to a strong start,” he explained. “I think it also reflects what we saw towards the end of 2013, which is the feeling we are in a sustained, albeit tepid, recovery. Sourcing executives have told us that clearly they are optimistic about 2014, and the number of shipments received appear to reflect that optimism.”

In recent years, there have been similar patterns of decent economic data in the first half of the year that were subsequently followed by a drop in strong economic activity. When asked if this year feels different in that regard, Green said there are a few things to be encouraged about.

One was optimism from sourcing executives (surveyed by Panjiva earlier this year) that are the ones making buying decisions, which he said is a significant difference from what has occurred in prior years, where there was hope but coupled with an underlying fear of slipping back into recession.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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