International Trade News

Big retailers in the U.S. are dragging their Chinese suppliers back to the table to re-negotiate order contracts and take advantage of lower manufacturing costs following Beijing’s sharp devaluation of the yuan.

A strong dollar and uncertain global macroeconomic outlook has led observers to forecast a 2.4 percent drop in U.S. exports this year, but the makeup of that decline is not uniform and some regions have even seen their number of U.S. exports increase.

Sluggish global demand has made this a rough year for U.S. exporters, with no quick recovery in sight.

China’s manufacturing output contracted for the sixth consecutive month in August as two purchasing manager’s indexes confirmed that the world’s second largest economy is deep in slowdown mode.

Brazilian beef exporters are poised to double their shipments to Iran after the major Middle Eastern importer ended a three-year ban on non-frozen shipments from the state of Parana.

China’s devaluation of the yuan may not kick off a currency war around the world, but it’s already triggered similar moves in Asia, and that’s potentially great news for U.S. retailers, the dominant importers of U.S. containerized products such as apparel, footwear and furniture.

Sue Abt artwork
When China devalued its currency in mid-August after a 10-year run-up against the dollar, the People’s Bank of China described the move as a natural step toward the creation of a market dominated Chinese exchange rate. No one in the market — not importers, exporters, manufacturers, investors or analysts — bought the message. Global stocks and commodity markets sold off at an astonishing rate, triggered by fears that China could launch a prolonged currency war that would boost its own exports at the expense of those it buys from, including the U.S.

A plummeting stock market and the devaluation of the yuan have knocked China down a peg, but the Asian manufacturing powerhouse will still grow its trade with the world more than 5 percent annually over the next five years, according to a recent IHS forecast.

Plummeting U.S. exports of recycled paper contributed to a 5.2 percent decline in overall U.S. exports during the first half of 2015, as lower-value commodities were hit by weak demand, a strong dollar and the lingering impact of West Coast port delays.

Containerized exports of poultry through U.S. ports plunged 20 percent during the first half of 2015 because of a multistate outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza.