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Panjiva data shows solid global trade growth from June to July

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
August 29, 2012

While previous months have shown evidence of slight global trade momentum, the most recent batch of data from Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers, showed better than slight growth from June to July.

U.S.-bound waterborne shipments, which posted a 2 percent gain from May to June, saw a 9 percent jump from June to July at 1,178,584, according to Panjiva. July shipments were also up 9 percent annually. This outpaced the 5 percent June to July shipment increase last year for this period and a 2 percent gain in 2010, but it fell short of a 12 percent improvement in 2009.

Panjva reported a 5 percent increase in the number of global manufacturers shipping to the U.S., with July hitting 157,331, which was ahead of a 2 percent improvement from May to June. This output is ahead of April, May, and June, which hit 148,246, 148,861, and 149,487, respectively, and is up 5 percent year-over-year. 

“July and into August are when we typically see increases in shipments related to the ramp up for back-to-school and the holidays,” said Panjiva CEO Josh Green in an interview. “And the fact that there is an increase [from June to July] is not terribly surprising, but this is a very healthy increase. We have not see increases like this in the last couple of years.”

Even with some healthy signs from Panjiva’s data, there remains a healthy amount of economic uncertainty, including still-high unemployment, increasing gasoline prices, and today’s news from the Department of Commerce, which pegged second quarter GDP growth at 1.7 percent, down from the first quarter’s 2.0 percent.

And with peak trade and shipping activity typically occurring between August and October, Green said it is reasonable to expect another steady batch of data from July to August, with shipments potentially increasing by 3-to-4 percent. And from August-to-September, he said there are typically sequential declines ranging from 5-to-8 percent. The decline from August to September typically is demonstrative of how most orders have already been placed.

“This speaks to the end of back-to-school shipments and the beginning of the holiday shipping season,” explained Green. “Those two things together make August the peak month in some ways. When back-to-school fades away, there is generally a decline in trade activity through mid-winter when we hit bottom and then start rebuilding inventory.”

When asked about overall economic conditions, in terms of how things are compared to earlier in the year, Green said it would be incorrect to say the economy is in outstanding shape, but he noted that that the possibility of any type of “imminent economic doom” is not top of mind for most people.

Specifically addressing Europe and its many economic concerns, Green said that while things remain shaky there—and could get worse—he said there is a sense that markets have taken that into account and are presuming that things could be reasonably stable.

“I am anxious to see what the August data looks like; it will tell us a lot about what retailers are expecting for this year’s holiday season,” said Green.

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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