Global Trade:  Supply chain analysts issue mixed report on exports

U.S. companies still have a “continued dependence” on China, trade experts contend
By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
June 13, 2011 - SCMR Editorial

While last week’s news that the United States trade deficit headed in the right direction, coming in at $43.7 billion in April, its lowest tally since last December, analysis from Panjiva an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers, indicates there may be more than meets the eye when gauging how much of an improvement the April numbers were.

This may be especially true on the export side, according to Panjiva, with April exports hitting $126.4 billion for an all time high based on U.S. Department of Commerce data.

Panjiva’s new quarterly report, entitled the Quarterly Trendspotting Report, takes a detailed look at the macro trends that impacted global trade during the first quarter of 2011. One of its main objectives is to assist sourcing executives determine which geographies are “trending hot” for products they are looking for on a worldwide basis and what the current trends are on an annual basis.

In an interview with LM—SCMR’s sister publication—Panjiva CEO Josh Green said that export data is important as it provides a sense of the expense of which the U.S. manufacturing economy is recovering, as well as which manufacturing sectors are recovering.

“There is a danger in looking at the top line export numbers and assuming we are in a strong recovery mode,” said Green. “Looking at the data it looks like oil and petroleum-based products saw the most growth in Q1 [up 63 percent from Q4 2010 at nearly $10.8 billion] and that says our oil industry is alive and well; it does not speak to a broad-based manufacturing recovery.”

Other strong sectors for U.S exports were computers, appliances, and industrial machinery up 14 percent at about $5.9 billion and vehicles up 21 percent at roughly $4.7 billion.

U.S. sectors not seeing nearly as strong export growth in the first quarter included pharmaceuticals, tobacco, and food waste and animal feed, among others.

Green said the report’s main takeaways have to do with the fact that U.S. companies still have a “continued dependence” on China, with the dollar value of U.S. imports from China growing by more than $13 million in the first quarter for an 18 percent improvement.

“When you look at imports and exports, China remains big and is growing,” said Green. “There has been a lot of talk over the last couple of years—particularly from sourcing executives—about diversifying beyond China, and realistically there is a disconnect between rhetoric and reality there,” he said. “People are talking about diversifying but there is still U.S. dependence on China.”

California exporters are especially reliant on the Far East and transpacific trade, other economic analysts contend.

For supply chain professionals sourcing goods and moving freight globally, Green explained that it is imperative to look at the data and listen to customers when making decisions and considering the fact that China is still the most common region to do global business in. And a close eye needs to be paid attention to the fact that despite recent strong export growth occurring, it is only in a few sectors and not a true indication of broad-based growth, said Green.

For related articles click here.



About the Author

image
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff joined the Supply Chain Group in 2005 and leads online and print news operations for these publications. In 2009, Jeff led Logistics Management to the Silver Medal of Folio's Eddie Awards in the Best B2B Transportation/Travel Website category. 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. If you want to contact Jeff with a news tip or idea, please send an e-mail to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Last week, the United States Department of Transportation took further steps to address various issues identified in recent train accidents involving crude oil and ethanol shipped by rail. The announcement was made by DOT with other DOT agencies, including the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

Logistics Management Group News Editor Jeff Berman had an opportunity to interview Derek Leathers, President and Chief Operating Officer of Werner Enterprises, at this month's NASSTRAC Shippers Conference and Transportation Expo in Orlando. They discussed various aspects of the truckload market, including prices, fuel, and regulations.

During this webcast our presenters will apply the findings of the 23rd Annual Trends & Issues in Transportation and Logistics Study to the world of shipper-carrier decision making. They'll examine the primary aspects that will influence the future direction for shipper-carrier decision-making.

For February, the month for which most recent data is available, the SCI dropped to -1.0 from January’s 2.6, with FTR explaining that the short term positive impact from one-time adjustments for rapidly dropping diesel prices and the suspension of the 2013 motor carriers hours-of-service expires later this year.

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in March was up 1.1 percent on the heels of a revised 2.8 percent (from 3.1 percent) February decline, with the SA index at 133.5 (2000=100). This is off 0.3 percent from the all-time high for the SA of 135.8 from January 2015 and is up 5 percent annually.

Article Topics

News · Global Trade · Supply Chain · World Trade · All topics

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review. Patrick covers 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. Contact Patrick Burnson

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.