Economy Watch

In a major setback for the new Narendra Modi-led Indian government’s aggressive effort to rev up the economy, the nation’s merchandise exports for fiscal year 2014-15, which ended March 31, fell far short of the targeted $340 billion, according to preliminary trade figures released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

U.S. diesel prices have fallen to a low not seen since Avatar raked in hundreds of millions of dollar at movie theaters across the country.

Portland cranes
The most damaging aspect of the exodus of two major container lines from the Port of Portland, Oregon, last month was the loss of more than 650 trade and transportation jobs in Oregon, the port’s executive director says.

Weak exports from China are driving Asia-Europe container freight rates down to new record lows, according to the world’s largest shipping association.

U.S. exports of logs and lumber via ocean container declined year-over-year in January for the fourth consecutive month, partly because of declining demand from China and unfavorable exchange rates.

The pace of truck rate increases could slow this year, if manufacturing continues to grow slowly and low energy prices deter capital investment, Wall Street analysts said. However, they see a storm coming in 2016-17.

A U.S. dollar in hyperdrive is helping exporters in some trading nations and setting the stage for a surge of U.S. imports.

Lululemon store
Shipment delays through U.S. West Coast ports, compounded by severe late winter weather, cost some retailers sales in recent months, but they believe the worst is over and say inventory levels are returning to normal.

A rising U.S. dollar — while reflecting the renewed strength of the U.S. economy — is weighing down the nation’s exports and exacerbating the West Coast port congestion pain inflicted on exporters.

The truck driver shortage in the U.S. apparently is becoming "more pervasive" despite higher pay and retention efforts by for-hire trucking companies, data released by the American Trucking Associations suggests.