U.S. Importers Keeping Inventory Lean, Containerized Shipments Down 2% in April

U.S. containerized imports dropped 2% in April year-over-year, as retailers responded to a slowing economy by keeping inventories lean, reported Mario O. Moreno, economist for The Journal of Commerce/PIERS. The decline followed a 7.3% Y-o-Y gain in March due, in part, to an early Lunar New Year in China.

“Latest import data reinforces the interpretation of a marked slowdown in the economy, induced by a lack of significant job growth. It is only fair to ask, what will the Fed do next?” Moreno said. His comments reflect his continued expectation that growth in imports will regain speed in the second half of the year, with the help of Federal Reserve intervention. Overall U.S. containerized imports were up 1% in the first four months of the year.

U.S. Containerized Imports April 2012

 

Leading the losses in April were footwear and miscellaneous fruits, each down 20%; menswear, down 19%; women’s and infant wear, down 11%; miscellaneous apparel, down 11%; auto tires, down 6%; and computer-related products, down 8%.  

Sales of existing homes are paddling along so far this year, which contributed to a slight uptick in furniture imports. In the months ahead, however, softness in the pace of home sales will constrain growth in furniture and home goods imports, Moreno said. Furniture is the single largest containerized import commodity.

Year-over-year U.S. containerized imports from Asia declined 1.6% in April, with shipments from China at the forefront, down 3%, due to reduced footwear, furniture and toy shipments. Chile followed with a surprising drop of 25%, while imports from Hong Kong and Belgium fell 11% and 17%, respectively. Leading the gains were Japan, up 17%, and Vietnam, up 14%.

More of Moreno’s trade and economic analysis can be found in his blog or by following him on Twitter @MarioMoreno_JoC

For FREE, instant access to details on U.S. import shipments, register online for PIERS TI Basic.

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2 Responses to “U.S. Importers Keeping Inventory Lean, Containerized Shipments Down 2% in April”

  1. Touch His Sole for Father’s Day « PIERS Says:

    […] As mentioned in our blog from Monday, leading the losses last quarter were footwear, down 20%, and menswear, down 19%. […]

  2. Will U.S. Imports Increase This Fall « PIERS Says:

    […] challenges that continue to occur. From significantly lower inventory levels, as mentioned in our blog last, relatively low retail sales growth, fluctuating fuel prices and high unemployment rates – […]

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