International Trade News

A spot rate index measuring the cost of shipping a 40-foot container from Los Angeles to Shanghai this week fell to its lowest level of the year, reflecting declining Chinese demand for U.S. exports.

China’s ability to throw staggering amounts of money at projects was on display again this week with the announcement that a state-owned investment giant will pour $113 billion into supporting the One Belt, One Road trade strategy.

U.S. exports of cotton (not carded or combed) by dollar value tumbled 20.6 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2015, the tenth consecutive quarterly decline. The trade outlook for 2015 looks disappointing, mostly because of a global glut of the fiber and weakening demand from China, the top-. Cotton exports by dollar value are forecast to decline 1.6 percent for an annual total of $4.3 billion with downside risks, following a decline of 21.4 percent in 2014.

The 2014 JOC Top 100 Exporters rankings once again are led by businesses engaged in recycling operations and industrial companies.

The general slowdown in China’s container exports was supported by the latest manufacturing data that shows weak factory activity being recorded in the mainland for the fourth consecutive month.

A new free-trade agreement between Australia and its largest trading partner, China, will likely further accelerate containerized trade between the duo after their volume rose 14.6 percent in the last three years.

In an ominous sign for its export-reliant economy, Japan’s red-hot merchandise trade with the United States lost some steam in May after expanding by more than 20 percent in March and April.

India’s merchandise exports fell for the sixth consecutive month in May, the longest streak of declines since 2009, even as the Narendra Modi-led government rolled out a spate of schemes to stimulate manufacturing output and spur domestic demand.

The creation of a containerized rail operator by the Eurasian Customs Union is aimed at capitalizing on growing volume moving between Europe and Asia.

Port of Charleston container yard
Retailers and their suppliers dominated the JOC’s Top 100 U.S. Importers rankings once again in 2014. Here’s a quick look at the companies making up the Top 10 importers in U.S. foreign trade via ocean container transport.