Zepol Corporation report indicates early inventory restocking

The downward trend of the last two months of Q3 may signal stronger retail forecasting

By Patrick Burnson · October 13, 2012

New research indicates that that the peak month for U.S. imports in 2012 will most likely be July.

According to Zepol Corporation, a leading trade intelligence company, U.S. import shipment volume for September, measured in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), is down 3.6 percent from August. At the same time, however, it is up from September of 2011 by 2.6 percent. Imports of TEUs shifted from over 1.6 million last month to 1.55 million in September.

The downward trend of the last two months of Q3 may signal a strengthening of retailer forecasting, said Zepol’s CEO Paul Rassmussen, who noted that the surge in goods for the holiday season seems to have come even earlier in Q3.

“Q3 of 2012 is up 3.8 percent from Q3 of last year,” said Rassmussen.  “U.S. importers may be feeling optimistic about the economy and preparing early for a busier shopping season than 2011.”

This report coincides with the Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index study released last week.  Researchers said consumer sentiment continued to charge upward and onward in early October, supported by an improved attitude on current conditions as well as expectations for future economic conditions.

“More consumers anticipate better job prospects and consider their current financial situation as favorable,” said Leslie Levesque, Senior Economist, IHS Global Insight.

The majority of Asian countries saw a drop in shipments to the United States from August to September, noted the Zepol report, but an overall rise in Q3 compared to Q3 of last year. China had a slight rise from Q3 of 2011 by 0.57 percent, but South Korea and Japan rose more significantly by 8.5 percent and 3 percent, respectively. Hong Kong actually saw a hefty drop in the third quarter of 2012 compared to last year by 12.2 percent.

U.S. imports from Europe also fell from August to September, but had major increases when comparing Q3 numbers. Germany increased in imports by 14.6 percent from Q3 of 2011 and Italy was not far behind at 13.7 percent.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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