Posts Tagged ‘Mario Moreno’

PIERS Reports Growth in U.S. Containerized Imports

August 13, 2013

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.

U.S. Containerized imports May 2013

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.

To learn more about how you can benefit from PIERS import & export data register to receive a free demo.


JOC Insights by Mario Moreno: U.S. Containerized Apparel Imports Up 3.7% through April

July 30, 2013

U.S. domestic imports of apparel, not knitted or crocheted (HS code 62), are modestly recovering from 2012’s dip. Year to date, through April, apparel imports were up 3.7%, and totaled $12.4 billion. Last year, imports totaled $36.8 billion for a dip of 0.4%, while in 2011 imports totaled $36.9 billion for an increase of 8.0%. 2012 was a mediocre year for apparel imports partly because real disposable personal income per capita experienced sluggish growth.

U.S. Apparel Imports by Dollar Value


China is the largest supplier of apparel (not knitted or crocheted) to the U.S. by dollar value. China sourced 40% of all U.S. apparel imports in 2012, down by 0.6% from 2011. Year to date, through April, China saw its share of imports declined further to 36.8%, despite an increase of 3% of exports to the U.S.

Share of U.S. Apparel Imports by Country and Annual Growth Rate

Imports from other low-cost producers such as Bangladesh and Vietnam are growing faster this year, partly as a result of the fast-pace rising production costs in China. Vietnam’s share has grown steadily in recent years, boosted by rapid export growth. Year to date, Vietnamese exports of apparel to the U.S. jumped 17%, and Vietnam’s share of imports increased to 8.4%. Second-ranked Bangladesh also saw its share of imports increased in recent years and it’s currently holding 10.8% of the total U.S. apparel imports trade year to date. Ultra low wages, which have remained flat for years, spurred an $18 billion garment industry. According to some estimates, average monthly pay in 2009 for workers in Dhaka was $47 compared to $235 in Shenzhen China.

Bangladesh’s exports of apparel to the U.S. rose 8% year to date, a good improvement over the 1% dip seen last year. Nevertheless, exports growth will likely be challenged for the rest of the year in the aftermath of the April 25th collapse of Rana Plaza, an eight-story building in Savar, Bangladesh, killing over 1,000 garment workers. Some apparel retailers have signed a safety pact agreement with the intention of raising payment to suppliers so that factory owners undertake major safety upgrades. Furthermore, the Bangladeshi government has agreed to International Labour Organization proposals that include worker protection rights and liberty to form unions. How will new safety measures and regulations impact container apparel imports from Bangladesh going forward?


U.S. container imports of apparel from Bangladesh were up 7.6% year to date through May, and totaled 34,544 TEUs. By extrapolating the data we can determine the expectation of apparel import volumes from Bangladesh over the next 6 months as the graph shows. This is important because we can estimate the impact of the Rana Plaza disaster and new safety measures and regulations over future container imports of apparel from Bangladesh. For June, apparel imports from this country are expected to grow by 7.4% year over year.

 US Apparel Imports from Bangladesh

More of Moreno’s trade and economic analysis can be obtained by subscribing to JOC Insights or by following him on Twitter @MarioMoreno_JoC.

JOC Insights by Mario Moreno: U.S. Containerized Avocado Imports Down for Seven Straight Months

July 2, 2013

U.S. containerized imports of avocados (HS code 080440) in February, totaling 312 TEUs, tumbled 54.1% year-over-year. This marks the 7th straight monthly decline for avocados imports. For all of 2012, imports totaled 5,210 TEUs, down 33.7% from the prior year. In 2011, imports jumped 50.4% year-over-year, mostly because of the U.S. lifting its ban on Peruvian avocado shipments. Between 2007 and 2012, total imports declined at a compound annual growth rate of -3.2%.

U.S. Avocado Imports


The Port of Los Angeles handled the most inbound shipments of avocados in 2012, accounting for a 31% share of all avocado imports, up 3 points from 2011. The largest suppliers of avocados shipped from the Port of Los Angeles last year were Chile and Peru.

The Port of New York and New Jersey held a 25% share of avocado imports into the U.S., followed by Philadelphia with a 10% share. The three ports handled 66% of all inbound shipments of avocados last year.

U.S. Avocado Imports by Port


Mexico, Chile, Peru and Dominican Republic are the main suppliers of avocados to the U.S., as measured by U.S. dollar import value. Mexico is the biggest supplier with a share of 88.6%, up 4.3% in 2012 year-over-year and 3.3% above 2010. Imports from Mexico totaled $762.3 million in 2012, down 1% from 2011. Second-ranked supplier Chile has seen its share decline over the last two years, from 12% in 2010 to 10.5% in 2011 and down to 5.5% in 2012. Third-ranked Peru, however, has rapidly gained share of the U.S. avocado import market, growing from less than one-tenth of a percent in 2010 to 3.8% in 2012. In U.S. dollar value terms, imports of Peruvian avocados rose nine times in 2010 and 100 times in 2011, mostly owed to the lifting of a ban on Peruvian Hass avocados in 2010. Despite production growth of 82%, exports of Peruvian avocados to the U.S. markedly slowed the pace last year, likely because most production gains came from growing a type of avocado oriented for domestic consumption only. U.S. imports of Peruvian avocados totaled $32.3 million in 2012, up sharply from only $30,000 in 2009.

Top Sources of U.S. Avocado Imports

The Dominican Republic is the fourth-biggest supplier, holding a 2.1% share of imports, up 0.1% from 2011 but down 0.5% from 2010. Imports in U.S. dollar value terms were merely unchanged in 2012 over prior year. U.S. avocado imports totaled $860.1 million in 2012, down 5.8% from 2011.

More of Moreno’s trade and economic analysis can be obtained by subscribing to JOC Insights or by following him on Twitter @MarioMoreno_JoC.

JOC Insights by Mario Moreno: Meat Exports Decelerate in 2012

May 28, 2013

U.S. containerized exports of meat (HS code 02) rose 3.2% in 2012, following a jump of 21.7% in the prior year. The index shows that exports more than doubled from 2004 to 2011. Between 2007 and 2012, exports grew at a compound annual growth rate of 10%. Index is up by 140% from 2004 January base.

US Meat Exports in TEUs

The Port of Savannah handled the most outbound shipments of meat in 2012, accounting for a 20% of all meat exports, unchanged from 2011. Th e largest recipients of U.S. meat shipped from the port of Savannah last year were China, Angola, Hong Kong, Georgia, and Taiwan. Port of Oakland follows Savannah with a 16% share. Los Angeles holds a 12% share while Houston and Norfolk each hold a 7% share. The share of each port is unchanged from 2011. These 5 ports account for 63% of all U.S. meat outbound shipments.

US Meat Exports

Japan and Mexico are 2 of the largest markets for U.S. meat exports by $ value. Japan held an 18.9% market share in 2012, up slightly by 0.2 percentage points over 2011, but still down by a 0.2 point from 2010. Mexico accounted for a respectable 17.2% market share last year, but its share is down by almost 2 full points. Meat exports to Japan and Mexico have grown modestly last year. Meat exports to Russia and China increased by 27% each last year. Russia used to be a top market up until 2009, but due to import limitations and the country building toward self-sufficiency in its meat sector, Russia is not a top market anymore. China’s share of exports is rapidly increasing, from 2.6% in 2010 to 6.2% in 2012. Exports to that market jumped 157% in 2011 but slowed the pace to 23% in 2012. Demand for meat will stay strong as long as the incomes on millions in China continue rising.

Losses in market share were seen in Taiwan and Vietnam. Taiwan holds a share of 2.1%, down from 3.1% in 2010, while Vietnam holds a share of 1.4%, down from 2.1% in 2010.

Chart 3

Source: International Trade Commission; author’s own calculations

More of Moreno’s trade and economic analysis can be obtained by subscribing to JOC Insights or by following him on Twitter @MarioMoreno_JoC.

JOC Insights by Mario Moreno: U.S. Apparel Imports Down in 1.7% in 2012

April 30, 2013


U.S. imports of apparel (HS code 61) slid 0.9% year-over-year in January after jumping 8.8% in December. Imports are down in 7 of the last 9 months. For all of 2012, apparel imports totaled $41.1 billion, down 1.7% over the prior year, partly owed to weak disposable income growth and soft demand from downstream retailers.

US Apparel Imports


A major driver of apparel imports is disposable personal income because ordinary clothes aren’t luxury goods.

U.S. real disposable personal income (RDPI) per capita grew a tiny 0.8% in 2012 over the prior year, and is up 0.2% in February 2013 over February 2012. The graph shows that since January 2000 RDPI per capita expanded steadily through end of 2006 but since then growth has flattened. This is downbeat for the outlook of apparel imports as they are linked to disposable income growth. RDPI per capita was up 14.8% in December 2006 over January 2000, and up a similar 14.5% in February 2013 over January 2000.

US Real Disposable Income per capita


In previous reports I’ve analyzed how China is losing share of U.S. imports of major labor-intensive goods including footwear, toys and furniture. But, in the case of apparel, the facts show otherwise.

China is the largest supplier of apparel to the U.S. and to the rest of the world by dollar value. China sourced 36.4% of all U.S. apparel imports in 2012, up by 0.3 percentage point from 2011, but still down by 0.3 percentage point from 2010. Although imports from China declined modestly last year, a small rebound was seen in its share of imports helped by marked decreased shipments from other emerging economies. Other source countries that gained significant share last year were Vietnam, up by 1 full percentage point to a total import share of 10.1%, and El Salvador, up by 0.3 percentage point to a total import share of 3.9%.

US Apparel Imports and Annual Growth Rates

In terms of annual growth, the data shows that imports from China dropped 1% last years after rising by 8% in 2011. Rising wages and costs challenge the obvious benefits of a well-developed manufacturing infrastructure, prompting relocation of production activities to Southeast Asia and Central America. Imports from Vietnam jumped 10% last year following an increase of 13% in 2011, while imports from El Salvador rose 6% last year following an increase of 6%. Strangely, imports from Mexico declined 7% last year after growing by 6% in 2011 despite near-sourcing advantages. Mexico’s share of imports declined from 3.4% in 2011 to 3.2% in 2012.

More of Moreno’s trade and economic analysis can be obtained by subscribing to JOC Insights or by following him on Twitter @MarioMoreno_JoC.

Economists Cautiously Optimistic Over U.S. Import & Export Growth Forecast

April 16, 2013

Are we seeing enough economic recovery this spring to support growth in volumes of U.S. containerized imports and exports? Economists are seeing some hope, especially in the U.S., but the spring is still looking pretty chilly on a global scale. In the U.S., housing starts and employment are up, but much of southern Europe is mired in recession and growth in emerging Asian markets is slowing.

On the whole, a global recovery is under way, but there are plenty of risks that could cause growth to sputter, especially if it encounters another “black swan” event in the form of an unpredictable catastrophe such as the tsunami and nuclear disaster that struck Japan in 2011.

Any recovery in Europe could be upset by eruption of a fiscal crisis in southern Europe. “Optimism has started to take hold in recent months, but the economic hangover is still very much with us,” said Nick Kounis, head of macroeconomic research for ABN Amro Bank. Yet trade volumes are likely to get stronger this year and even stronger by the second half of 2014 when the global recovery takes hold. Global trade volume, which increased 3% in 2012, is likely to grow 3.3% this year and 3.9% in 2014, Kounis said.

US Containerized Exports

Source: PIERS/JOC Container Shipping Outlook, March 2013

But persistent global economic clouds are causing some economists to cut their forecast of U.S. trade growth. In March PIERS/The Journal of Commerce, economist Mario Moreno reduced his forecast for the growth of U.S. containerized exports this year to 2%, to a total of 12.1 million TEUs, compared with his previous forecast of 4.1%, “in light of the fourth quarter’s weak performance, the general deceleration of volume growth during 2012, and less optimistic economic forecasts across the globe.”

Moreno also cut his forecast for 2014 export growth to 3.4% from the 4.4% rate he estimated in December. “While fiscal uncertainty in the U.S. has been largely contained, in Europe, questions remain on how solid the commitment to austerity is, especially in Italy, where anti-austerity candidates made progress in the last election,” he said. “Such an outcome makes already nervous investors less willing to commit capital to projects and could delay the economic recovery across the European continent.”

Us Containerized Imports

Source: PIERS/JOC Container Shipping Outlook, March 2013

Moreno expects import volumes to grow 2.6% in 2013 to a total of 17.6 million TEUs, compared with just 1.5% in 2012. But he remains cautious in view of the 3.9% dip in total U.S. import volumes in the final quarter of 2012, which capped a disappointing 2012 for U.S. inbound container trade. Annual containerized import traffic expanded just 1.5% during the year, decelerating from the 2.7% pace set in 2011 and a far cry from the 14.5% increase posted in 2010.

He said the 2012 performance was significantly below the two-year moving average of 10.4%, which indicates further sluggishness going forward. Although the fourth quarter 2012 performance can be partially attributed to Hurricane Sandy and labor disputes at U.S. ports, he said the slowdown was primarily due to worsening U.S. economic conditions, particularly fiscal uncertainty and its impact on private investment, which was keeping a tight lid on containerized import growth. “I do not see these conditions appreciably improving during 2013 and am therefore compelled to lower our projection to 2.6% growth,” Moreno said.

For more information about PIERS trade intelligence visit or to learn more about The Journal of Commerce’s Container Shipping Outlook visit

JOC Insights by Mario Moreno: Furniture Exports Expand

March 26, 2013

U.S. exports of furniture rose for the 18th straight month through November on a year-over-year basis as demand from major markets continued and the U.S. dollar remained competitive. Exports advanced 8.1% year-over-year in November 2012 over November 2011 and totaled $879.6 million (deflated to January 2009 prices) in the month. Through November, exports were up by 12% and totaled $9.5 billion.

U.S. Furniture Exports 2010-2012

Canada is by far the largest market for U.S. furniture (H.S. code 94) exports, accounting for a 51.5% share in 2012 through November, up 0.3% from 2010. Exports to that market year-to-date were up 10 percent, a similar growth seen in 2011.Mexico is the second-largest market, accounting for a 51.5% share year-to-date, up notoriously by nearly 3 percentage points from 2010. Exports to that market were up 27% year-to-date, higher than the 20% growth seen in 2011. Other markets gaining share in the last three years were Germany, Australia and Venezuela.

The fifth-largest market, China, has seen its market share marginally decline in recent years as the economy decelerated but has maintained a double-digit growth demand for U.S. furniture. Wealthy Chinese believe in the quality and design of U.S.-made products, which explains why some U.S. furniture companies are strengthening business relationships in China. Ethan Allen’s CEO said in a recent WSJ interview that the company’s partner Markhor Furniture in China will increase the number of stores that carry Ethan Allen products to at least 100 within a year, up from 77. Demand from the United Kingdom has strengthened markedly in 2012 but not enough to gain market share.

More of Moreno’s trade and economic analysis can be obtained by subscribing to JOC Insights or by following him on Twitter @MarioMoreno_JoC.

PIERS is the only source for transaction-level U.S. export data. To learn more about PIERS export data, visit

PIERS Offers Exclusive Research Into China’s Impact on the Manufacturing Exports of Other Developing Nations – Available for Free Download

March 12, 2013

PIERS, the Standard in Trade Intelligence, is pleased to offer a one of a kind report available for FREE download. The report examines China’s waning strength in labor-intensive exports like furniture, apparel and footwear, and its impact on other developing countries.

Understand how rising wages and labor shortages are prompting factory owners in China to relocate facilities inland or in many cases flee to other developing countries where wages are lower or competitive, and supply of unskilled and semi-skilled workers is abundant. To isolate developing countries most exposed to this trend, this report identifies  13 countries for which manufacturing represents more than 15% of their GDP and wages are lower than in China or globally competitive.

China’s Impact on the Manufacturing Exports of Other Developing Nations

The results suggest that China’s waning strength in labor-intensive exports is benefiting some developing economies more than others, while a few appear to not be benefiting at all. Countries examined in this report include: Vietnam, Mexico, India, Thailand, Brazil, Honduras, El Salvador, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Poland, Philippines and Cambodia.

Key findings include:

  • Favorable trade conditions and geographic proximity with Central American countries have led to growth rates of U.S. apparel imports that significantly outpaced that of China, in part because shortened transit time is particularly important to shippers of apparel.
  • Lower wages and favorable exchange rates in recent years have given Vietnam an advantage over China in the footwear and apparel sector, leading to an increase in market share of U.S. imports in both of these sectors.
  • While Poland represents a relatively small share of the global furniture market, significant currency depreciation  against the U.S. dollar has resulted in a compound annual growth rate of U.S. furniture imports of 19.6% from 2001 through 2011.

Get a better understanding of how these trends effect the global supply chain and download your FREE report today!

U.S. Container Imports Up 3.2% in June

July 31, 2012

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.

Want to learn more about the details behind these container imports? PIERS solutions provide the support needed to accurately track vital trade intelligence around the world. Contact us today to have a PIERS solutions expert show you more.

Who Tops This Year’s JOC Top 100 Importers & Exporters Lists?

June 22, 2012

2011 was extraordinary in terms of natural catastrophes and disasters – all of which cause a bit of global turbulence in the trade industry. The economic burden doesn’t only affect  where the disaster occurred but also ripples through the world economy by affecting global trade volume. A single natural disaster can cause a domino effect that can cripple supply chains as was evident in the auto parts industry after the Japan earthquake last March. These crises “coupled with a soft post-recession consumer market and mixed macroeconomic environment, growth undoubtedly was restrained,” stated the Journal of Commerce in the “Coming Full Cycle”.

Top 5 U.S. Importers 2011 

Top 5 U.S. Exporters 2011 

Retail sales are the main driver of containerized imports, which JOC/PIERS Economist Mario O. Moreno expects to rise at a slower pace than previously forecasted.  His revised forecast which was published earlier this week calls for 4.1% growth on U.S. imports, down from 4.5% previously and 2.3% growth for exports which was reduced from 3.5%.  For 2011, U.S. imports increased 3% in 2011 over 2010 while U.S. exports increased 6% year-over-year. 

Want to monitor the top importers and exporters in your industry? PIERS data can help. To learn more visit PIERS or call 973-766-8660. 

*The JOC’s Annual Top 100 Importers and Exporters ranking is based on data from PIERS, a JOC sister company, and other industry sources.


%d bloggers like this: