Archive for May, 2011

Wal-Mart and American Chung Nam Hold On to #1 Rankings on JOC List

May 31, 2011

The much-anticipated list of Top 100 Importers and Exporters was issued by The Journal of Commerce (JOC) this week. JOC relies on PIERS data and a host of other sources to bring this exclusive report to transportation industry insiders twice a year.

The expert analysis of PIERS researchers and others in the industry conclude that Wal-Mart remains the no. 1 importer of containerized ocean cargo in the latest annual rankings. Sources say the corporation increased its shipping volume into the United States 1.8 percent in 2010. As the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart imported 696,000 20-foot equivalent units last year, up from 684,000 TEUs in 2009.

In exports, America Chung Nam, the sister company and supplier of wastepaper to China’s largest containerboard manufacturer, was the largest American exporter of containerized goods by volume in 2010 for the 10th year in a row, with a significant volume increase over 2009 figures. The California-based company’s volume was 16 percent ahead of the 259,300 TEUs America Chung Nam exported in 2009 and it shipped a total of 300,800 20-foot equivalent units from the U.S. in 2010. PIERS’ experts see the wastepaper exports as a measure of confidence in the U.S. retail economy because much of the material is turned into packaging for toys, electronics and other consumer goods produced in China’s factories.

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Grill Imports Heat Up as Americans Prepare for Summer Sizzle!

May 24, 2011

 Memorial Day is right around the corner and Americans are getting ready to fire up those grills!

In April, more imports of barbeque grills were recorded than any other month in 2011, showing a seasonal upswing for lots of grilling in the forecast!

The figures above originated from PIERS comprehensive product solution, PIERS TI. PIERS TI provides direct, immediate access to U.S. import and export data. Users can find up to four years of export data and up to five years of import data—and new data is added every day. Take a free trial today to learn more about the advantages of this PIERS solution or contact us to receive a FREE no obligation demo customized to your business needs.

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No Longer “Made in China?”

May 17, 2011

PIERS has uncovered a big change in the material world—a shift away from the Chinese production of men’s and women’s clothing and footwear. According to PIERS/JOC economist Mario Moreno, container shipments from China to the U.S. of apparel and footwear have dropped, indicating a shift toward offshore sourcing of these products.

China’s share of footwear imports dropped from 75% in the first quarter of 2010 to 73% in the first quarter of 2011. Menswear imports to the U.S. dropped from 25% to 22% in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the first quarter of 2010. In women’s and infants’ wear, China’s market share dropped from 34% to 31%.

Moreno believes the decline is due to many firms moving their footwear and apparel manufacturing facilities out of China to Southeast Asia, the India Subcontinent and Central America. In fact, the Financial Times announced just last week that Coach, the U.S. accessories brand, is already planning to shift up to half of its manufacturing out of China to escape rising labor costs. Over the next five years, the company is opening factories in lower-wage economies including India, Vietnam and the Philippines and cutting its China production by as much as 50% of what it is now.

The shift reflects ongoing changes in China’s labor market—wages are increasing and the working population sees more employment options. This shows the Chinese economy is changing from its export engine toward a pro-consumption model. The strengthening of China’s currency is also a factor in reducing already tight profit margins for manufacturers of low-value goods.

PIERS’ analysis shows the change in direction from upward to flat to downward as manufacturing firms flee the country on rising wages. Moreno said jobs in general are growing at a much faster rate than the working population growth, suggesting Chinese workers have more options now than a decade ago. Thus, working at a footwear or apparel factory performing repetitive tasks on a daily basis has become less appealing to unskilled workers, despite higher wages.

With PIERS, you can arm yourself with the right information to put these and other market shifts into perspective. Can your business benefit from sourcing a new supplier? Need assistance analyzing a new market? Contact us today to have a PIERS business development manager show you how our product solutions can help you grow your business, cut expenses and so much more.

Upbeat Forecast Shows Risks on the Horizon

May 10, 2011

PIERS understands that staying ahead of the curve is essential to your businesses. Forecast reports help you gain a realistic picture of the global market before making important business decisions.

Businesses will be glad to know that according to recent forecasts from PIERS/JOC economist, Mario Moreno, economic recovery is finally on solid footing. Drawing on PIERS statistical data as reported in the “First Quarter 2011 Survey of Professional Forecasters” released early last month, Moreno says expectations for 2011 and 2012 have been revised and are up significantly based on 2010’s numbers.

The 43 respondents in the survey indicate an improved outlook for 2011 with the panel now expecting to see 3.6 percent growth in the first three months of this year and 3.2 percent for the entire year.

But the accompanying downside risks are significant—the threat of soaring oil prices brought about by political turmoil in the Middle East is not to be taken slightly. With oil trading above $100, consumers around the globe are facing reduced disposable incomes and are likely to cut back purchases of discretionary items at least until wages adjust commensurately. According to Moreno, reduced consumption spending on goods around the globe will unfortunately delay the current recovery.

On top of unsustainable oil prices, global inflation is being driven by rapidly rising commodity prices. World export prices for corn, soy, wheat and rice are up a collective 70 percent over the past 12 months and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization is predicting sharply increased prices of staples such as bread, pasta, breakfast cereal, dairy and meat.

Moreno says only part of global commodity inflation can be traced to rising oil prices. Clearly, agricultural producers and distributors must spend more on inputs but most of the increase is more an artifact of too much demand relative to supply. Add poor growing weather to the mix and prices have nowhere to go but up. Increased investment and output will solve the imbalance but this will take time.

Overall, world GDP is still expected to churn out 3.5 percent more output in 2011 compared to 2010 and add a further 3.7 percent in 2012. A better than expected performance in the US and an easing of political tensions in the Middle East could support an upwards revision of at least 1.5 percentage points in summer. Meanwhile, global economic growth will be affected, the degree to which, is still unknown.

Just in Time for Cinco de Mayo!

May 3, 2011

PIERS data shows tequila imports are on the rise.


Tequila not your drink of choice? Search by commodity with PIERS. PIERS’ products give you a global picture of a commodity and the companies trading it. Analyze commodity growth trends, leading producers, source suppliers and more! Click here to learn more.

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