Economy Watch

soybean fields
Low prices invariably generate increased demand, so exports of corn, soybeans and energy products derived from those commodities will do quite well in the coming year and beyond, said David Hightower, principal at Hightower Associates in Chicago and publisher of the Hightower Report on commodities.

India’s merchandise exports in August rose 2.35 percent year-over-year to $26.95 billion, the lowest growth rate in five months.

Given the slightly stronger-than-expected first half, and that economic conditions in the U.S. are improving, JOC Group Economist Mario Moreno is upgrading the 2014 imports projection to 6.7 percent annual growth, up from the March projection of 5.9 percent.

warehouse
U.S. inventory and sales data released by the Commerce Department this week point to increased need to restock already lean inventories heading into the fourth quarter.

Trucking’s hiring plans stalled in August, as for-hire motor carriers with payroll numbers tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lost approximately 800 employees.

European economic growth might be flatlining, but you wouldn’t know it by the strong container import growth in the first half, according to Drewry Maritime Research.

Chinese factories are still expanding production even though most orders for the holiday season in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere have already been shipped, suggesting global demand is building.

Made in Canada
Canadian export growth is slated to rise to 4.7 percent this year and 7.7 percent in 2015, as global and particularly U.S. demand builds, non-energy shipments rise, and the Canadian dollar weakens, according to the Royal Bank of Canada.

Nine straight weeks of steady declines in pricing of low-sulfur bunker fuel have brought the price per metric ton down to the lowest levels in more than three years.

Worker assembling electronics component in China
China’s factory output and total new orders in July rose to their highest levels since March last year, improving the operating conditions of mainland manufacturers and supporting carrier predictions of third quarter container volume increases in the seasonal build up to Christmas.