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Panjiva reports gains in global trade growth from March to April

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
June 02, 2014

Global trade growth remained in a good position from March to April, based on recent data issued by Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers. 

U.S.-bound waterborne shipments in April—at 1,183,455—were up 9 percent annually and up 11 percent from March to April, which was below the 23 percent March to April gain from a year ago and in line with 2012 and 2011, which had respective gains of 11 percent and 7 percent.

The number of global manufacturers shipping to the U.S in April—at 169,947—was up 3 percent annually and was up 10 percent from March to April, which fell below the 2013 March to April gain of 13 percent. In 2012, the number of manufacturers was up 9 percent from March to April and was up 6 percent in 2011.

Panjiva officials said in a blog posting featuring the data that in April the firm saw an increase in the number of active suppliers driving the increased imports, with active suppliers up 10 percent from March to April. They added that this most recent batch of data represents a “good start” to the second quarter, adding they hope to see this trend strengthen and continue into the summer.

“These numbers were good,” said Panjiva CEO Josh Green. “For the year as a whole (through April), shipments are up 7.5 percent compared to the first four months of 2013. This is consistent with what we seen in recent months, as well as what we have heard from sourcing executives in regards to their outlooks for 2014.”

Green noted that last week’s 1.0 percent GDP growth estimate from the United States Department of Commerce was discouraging that could give people some pause as to whether the economy can be expected to remain on an upward trajectory.

But the sourcing executives making buying decisions had already determined that the first quarter was weaker overall from a macro perspective than preferred but was do to explainable factors such as the harsh winter weather in the first quarter.

And a still too high inventory-to-sales ratio ostensibly lines up with the discrepancy between commerce and imports and modest GDP numbers, explained Green.

“This is likely to provide a bit of caution as buyers begin to get ready for holiday planning,” said Green. “If we had seen a stronger first quarter from a macro standpoint, I think we would see significant build up in coming volumes, but for the moment there is at least a note of caution being sounded. My sense is that most sourcing executives tend to believe we are on a path of growth.”

With a traditional flattening out in global trade from April to May, the only way that might happen, he said, is if May heads down into negative territory as it did in 2012. But if it looks more like 2013, which had solid April to May growth, that is an encouraging sign.

With shipments up 7.5 percent through the first four months of the year, Green said compared to 2012 and 2013 combined, shipments are up 2.7 percent in 2014, which is robust, in light of concerns about inventory build up and if the macro economy does not pick up some speed relative to the first quarter.

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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