Imports normally build each year during the summer and fall months as retailers bring back-to-school merchandise and then holiday goods into the country. Technically, there has not been a traditional “Peak Season” for a few years due to the ongoing economic challenges that continue to occur. From significantly lower inventory levels, relatively low retail sales growth, fluctuating fuel prices and high unemployment rates – things are light compared to the Peak Season build-up in previous seasons.
U.S. containerized imports gained 2.9% in the second quarter, led by year-over-year increases in furniture, auto parts, bananas and electronics, PIERS data show. The first half of the year, U.S. containerized imports were up 2.4%, with increases of 3.2% in June. Journal of Commerce and PIERS Economist, Mario O. Moreno, said imports from China were aided by declining prices as the Renminbi’s value decreased against the dollar. Overall increases in the second half of the year will be held down by continuing high U.S. unemployment and the European economic crisis; he forecasts a full-year increase of 4.1%.
As these events unfold, freight volumes and activity remain in a holding pattern with flat or low growth throughout the majority of domestic and global freight transportation modes. For JOC subscribers, the graphic above provides valuable insights into trends in the transportation sector for all modes of transportation.
More of Moreno’s trade and economic analysis can be found in his blog or by following him on Twitter @MarioMoreno_JoC.
For more information on PIERS U.S. import & export data, register online for free demo.