Strong global trade patterns remain intact, according to Panjiva data

By Jeff Berman · May 14, 2012

Building off of the positive momentum from February to March, global trade activity continued heading in the right direction from March to April, according to data released by Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers.

U.S.-bound waterborne shipments continued the strong momentum demonstrated from February to March, which saw a 14 percent sequential gain. April shipments—at 108,614—were up 11 percent compared to March’s 979,954. April shipments were up 6 percent year-over-year.

Panjva reported a 6 percent increase in the number of global manufacturers shipping to the U.S., with March’s 136,286 ahead of February’s 128,244 and down from January’s 145,520. Compared to March 2011, which saw 130,918 manufacturers ship to the U.S., March 2012 was up 3.9 percent.

Panjva reported a 6 percent increase in the number of global manufacturers shipping to the U.S., with April’s 148,246 ahead of March’s 136,286. January and February manufacturer numbers came in at 145,520 and 128,244, respectively.

“These numbers really are great news,” said Panjiva CEO Josh Green in an interview. “To be 11 percent ahead of where we were last year [for shipments] is fantastic, and if you look ignore the effects of Chinese New Year it seems clear now that we have basically had six straight months of healthy trade activity.”

These numbers, said Green, reflect a healthy degree of confidence among global buyers.

As for future global trade growth in the coming months, Green said companies are now placing orders for the holiday season, and at the same time many macroeconomic signs—including employment and consumer confidence—are encouraging, which could result in providing further confidence for buyers when placing orders.

“All the buyers are thinking about jobs and consumer confidence when thinking about much inventory they want to keep on hand,” he said. “The numbers we are seeing now are for orders placed several months ago for merchandise that will be in stores fairly soon. Orders being placed today will show up in shipment data several months from now.”

Looking ahead, jobs numbers will require a watchful eye, said Green. This is especially relevant in light of lower-than-expected April jobs numbers. If there is a swoon in future jobs number, Green said that could raise caution flags among corporate buyers.

Another factor cited by Green was the tenuous economic situation in Europe, which to date has not has a major impact on trade flows into the U.S.

“If Europe cannot get a grip on its financial challenges at some point, it is likely to have some spillover effects,” said Green.

Should current economic patterns remain largely at current levels, Green said the lowest April to May increase recorded for shipments was in the 3 percent range at the low end and 12 percent at the high end. Anything in that range would mean things remain on track for growth, he explained, whereas anything below that would be viewed as a disappointment.

 

 


About the Author

Jeff Berman
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. Contact Jeff Berman

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