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Logistics business: Panjiva points to improved trade numbers with caution

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
May 20, 2010

Following a 3 percent gain in the number of global manufacturers shipping to the United States from February to March, there was another 3 percent gain from March to April, according to data from Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers.

The matching 3 percent sequential gains follow 3 percent declines from January to February and December to January. And on a year-over-year basis, the most recent 3 percent March to April gain tops last year by 8 percent—due to the economy not being in recovery mode at that time.

Panjiva officials said the total number of global manufacturers shipping to the U.S. in April was 137,303, a 2.6 percent gain from March’s 133,779. Panjiva also said that there was an 11 percent annual increase in the number of waterborne shipments coming into the U.S. in April.

While these numbers are largely positive, Panjiva CEO Josh Green wrote in a blog posting that “year-over-year comparisons are a bit misleading since global trade was a mess last year.

In an interview with LM, Green said it feels like international trade is vulnerable to additional macroeconomic shocks.

“Our modest recovery right now is threatened by the chaos in the financial markets in Europe,” said Green. “The overall signs are promising, but we are not in a recovery that is so robust that we are immune to the threat being created by the instability in Europe.”

Looking at market conditions and how it relates to global manufacturers shipping to the U.S.. there is still some caution when it comes to inventory build up, but Green said that is not “top of mind” for most global manufacturers at the moment. Instead, he said, that there are concerns about production capacity constraints and rising prices that people expect to see as the recovery takes hold.

And with the economy in a modest recovery, Green said these conditions make it feel like a “new normal,” whereas a few weeks back it felt like the worst of the recession was over.  But he again cautioned that the European economic crisis and the decline of the Euro have the potential to derail the recovery.

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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