U.S. containerized imports edged up 0.7% year-over-year in May, following year-over-year growth of 2% in April, according to PIERS data. U.S. containerized imports totaled 1.54 million TEUs in May, the highest monthly volume since August 2012.
“Retailers have come to realize that their expectations in the beginning of the year for a resilient, improving consumer sector were a bit too optimistic, resulting in slowing demand for foreign goods starting the second quarter,” said PIERS/Journal of Commerce economist Mario Moreno in the July report of JOC Insights. “Second quarter imports will likely grow by no more than 2% year-over-year, which is in line with my expectations.”
Containerized import volume in May was up 4% from April.
Leading the gains among the top 25 imports were miscellaneous fruits, with a 39% year-over-year jump; kitchenware, up 17%; and footwear, up 15%. The largest declines were seen in toys, electronic products, and address machinery, all down 9%.
Among the top 25 source countries, U.S. imports from Chile showed the largest increase in May, up nearly 30% year-over-year to 18,718 TEUs. Shipments from Brazil totaled 27,987 TEUs in May, up 26% year-over-year. Ecuador’s exports to the U.S. in May totaled 10,541 TEUs, growing 24.2% year-over-year. Of the largest sourcing country declines, shipments from Japan showed the biggest drop, off 14% year-over-year to 46,381 TEUs. Hong Kong followed with a 13.5% drop to 30,859 TEUs, while Turkey’s volume fell 10.4% to 9,397 TEUs.
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