As predicted by PIERS/JOC Economist Mario Moreno, U.S. container imports rose 3.2% in June; led by steady growth in furniture and auto parts, which contributed to an overall increase of 2.4% through the first half of 2012, according to data from PIERS.
This is in line with Moreno’s forecast of 4.1% full-year growth. Total U.S. imports in Q2, up 2.9%, and imports from Asia, up 2.7%, exceeded forecasts by 0.4% and 2.4% respectively. “Growth was modest at best,” Moreno said. “Trade with China was helped by declining import prices as the Renminbi began to lose value against the dollar. The outlook for containerized trade in the second half of the year continues to show downside risks as unemployment is stuck at +8%, and fiscal woes in Europe could escalate even more.”
Furniture continued to lead import volumes, up 7% in Q2, despite flat home sales year to date, Moreno noted. He cautioned that this momentum will not last if hiring remains stalled. However, manufacturers increased auto production, driving auto parts imports up 19%.
On the downside, demand for imported footwear continued the downtrend due to rising import prices and poor demand outlook. Footwear imports declined 18%.
More of Moreno’s trade and economic analysis can be found in his blog or by following him on Twitter @MarioMoreno_JoC.
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