Panjiva reports May has a bounce back month for global trade activity

Shipment figures marked the best ever month for May going back to 2007, as well as the highest monthly shipment level since August 2015.

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United States-bound waterborne shipments had a strong month in May, according to recent data issued by Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers.

May shipments––at 954,000––saw a 10% jump over April and a 1.5% annual gain, which was boosted by furniture and auto parts imports, despite slow growth in China. This output marked the best ever month for May going back to 2007 based on Panjiva data, as well as its highest monthly shipment level since August 2015.

For the full-year 2016, Panjiva said total shipments 2.1% compared to 2015. And based on the last six years, it said that just under 40% of full-year shipments have already been made by May. And with year-to-date shipments at 4.41 million, that 2.1% annual growth estimate for 2016 translates into 11.1 shipments.

Addressing the slow growth in China that factored into the 1.5% annual gain in May, Panjiva said that imports from China were 2.4 lower when including exports via Hong Kong, with furniture imports were up 2.7% for the same period and auto parts were up 2.9% and iron and steel dropped 0.4%.

In an interview, Panjiva research director Chris Rogers said even with China down, total shipment numbers remain up, which bodes well for trade activity in the rest of the world.

“This is similar to the views we expressed in our recent State of Trade report in that there is concern about China over all, while the non-China side of things continues to fare well at least for now,” he said. “Even with the numbers up, it is too early to say this is really a broad-based recovery, with one good month following a couple of not so good months.”

Things like Brexit, and the U.S. possibly raising interest rates also continue to weigh on global trade activity, too, especially with Brexit potentially impacting future global trade negotiations, he noted.

“This has made a lot of people quite nervous about the outlook for global trade,” he said. “Nothing will change in the short-term, but it will be a big disruption to trade. While June could suffer, there might be a rebound in July.”

About the Author

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. Contact Jeff Berman

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