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Panjiva data shows a sequential slowdown in global trade

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
June 15, 2012

On the heels of two strong months of global trade activity, data released by Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers, showed a bit of a slowdown from April to May.

U.S.-bound waterborne shipments, which were up 14 and 11 percent, respectively, in the previous two months, dipped 2 percent from April to May at 1,061,192. May shipments were up 2 percent annually. 

Panjva reported a 0.4 percent increase in the number of global manufacturers shipping to the U.S., with May coming in at 148,861. On an annual basis, the number of manufacturers shipping to the U.S. inched up 1 percent. May’s number was in line with recent months, including April’s 148,246, March’s 136,286 and January and February at 145,520 and 128,244, respectively.

“It would have been great to see the growth streak continue,” said Panjiva CEO Josh Green in an interview. “But this data is coming off of a couple of really strong months, and the basis for comparison is quite high, and we are still running ahead of where we were last year. The news is certainly not as good as we would like, but I don’t see anything in the data that suggests we are heading for a significant slowdown.”

Looking ahead, Green said it is possible that the next couple of months could be flat in terms of growth and then start to ramp up again in August, which could likely end up being the peak month of the year for global trade activity. What is happening now-with this current batch of data-could be viewed as a “dip” prior to the build-up to the holiday season, he said.

If declines or flat trade numbers persist into the summer months, Green said that may be viewed as a sign that retailers are pessimistic about the holiday season. Green noted that as things currently stand, typical seasonal trade patterns are intact heading into the second half of the year.

Looking at April to May gains in recent years, the rate of growth for the same time period this year was down. For April to May U.S.-bound shipments, 2011 was up 8 percent, 2010 was up 12 percent, and 2009 and 2008 were up 2 and 3 percent, respectively.  And for manufacturers, 2011 was up 6 percent, 2010 was up 9 percent, and 2009 and 2008 were up 2 and 3 percent, respectively.

“When looking at sequential comparisons, you need to be a little careful,” said Green. “One strong month makes the next month look weak in comparison. April was an extraordinarily strong month and now in comparison May does not look so good, but May 2012 is better than May 2011 and that closely matches how things are economically, with things being a little better this year.”

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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