PIERS Data Shows Recession's Impact on Furniture Import-Export Trade

NEWARK, N.J., July 28 /PRNewswire/ -- PIERS Global Intelligence Solutions, a division of UBM Global Trade, has released trade statistics that gauge the recession's impact on the top U.S. import commodity by volume, furniture.

In first-quarter 2009, inbound containerized shipments of furniture fell more than 87,000 TEUs (20-foot-equivalent units, the basic unit of container measure), for a 19.2% decline compared with the same period a year ago.

Based on first-quarter results, PIERS is forecasting a 16.52% decline in furniture imports for 2009 compared to 2008's shipments. This year's projected total TEUs for inbound furniture of 1,452,574 TEUs represents a 27% drop from the peak of 1,990,071 TEUs imported in 2005.

Overall, 2008 was a year in which furniture imports grew 73.55% -- but, against 2007's steep drop of 48.39% -- this is seen as regaining ground lost when the U.S. housing bubble went bust. Now global recession looks likely to reverse the recovery.

An analysis of 2008 trade data on source countries shows that China, accounting for 62.4% of total known value of imports, was the top supplier of furniture to the U.S. However, China's rate of growth in furniture imports -- 66.73% -- was surpassed by Vietnam, with a 154.93% growth rate, albeit from a lower volume base. As a result, China's share of the U.S. market for imports dropped 2.83%, while Vietnam gained 2.74%. This is evidence of the continued shift in production away from China to lower-cost countries, a trend that is expected to accelerate post-recession.

The global recession also slowed U.S. furniture exports. After positive growth of 7.05% in 2008, a 19.89% drop is forecast for 2009. While China is also the top market country for U.S. exports, its share was a modest 6.07% of total known value of exports last year. While China took in 8.95% more exports in 2008, Saudi Arabia, with a 4.76% share, led growth with a 58.06% surge.

In 2008, the top importer of furniture was Ikea, while Herman Miller was the leading exporter of furniture by volume. California led the states as an importer. North Carolina ranked as the number 2 importer, yet another indication of the furniture sector's globalization. Florida was the top furniture exporting state, followed by New Jersey.

These findings are based on trade data through first-quarter 2009 from PIERS Global Intelligence Solutions, the primary source of U.S. waterborne trade information. These and other findings are reported in the latest PIERS Sector SnapShot, a periodic summary of containerized import-export trade in bellwether commodities. The PIERS Furniture Sector SnapShot 1Q09 can be downloaded for free from the PIERS website at www.piers.com/furnituresnapshot.

A copy of the PIERS Furniture Sector Snapshot 1Q09 is included for reference and further details.

About PIERS Global Intelligence Solutions

PIERS is the primary source of U.S. waterborne trade information and a leader in global trade solutions. Launched over 30 years ago by The Journal of Commerce as the Port Import Export Reporting Service, its first venture in electronic information, PIERS quickly became the standard reference on container trade for the maritime industry.

The database that is at the core of PIERS information products is unique. Based on the manifests and bills of lading that document import-export activity, and checked by reporters in every port, the PIERS database yields the most timely, accurate, comprehensive information available on trade through U.S. Ports.

More specialized PIERS databases also offer historical data back to the 1950's, trade finance data, and Asia and Latin American trade data.

PIERS economists and researchers supply expert data analysis and interpretation to support decision-marking, while detailed and customizable datasets yield solutions for cross-border marketing, supply-chain management and competitive intelligence.

A roster of over 6,000 private industry, trade association, and domestic and foreign government clients, representing more than 40 countries, relies on PIERS to translate trade data into meaningful intelligence that guides their global business strategies. For more information visit www.piers.com.

About UBM Global Trade

UBM Global Trade, formerly Commonwealth Business Media, Inc., has been the leading provider of proprietary data, news, business intelligence and analytical content supporting commercial maritime, rail, trucking, warehousing and logistics industries worldwide since 1827. The company's portfolio of more than 100 online, print and interactive workflow business solutions includes The Journal of Commerce, The Journal of Commerce Conferences, PIERS Global Intelligence Solutions and an array of international trade and transportation databases and directories. UBM Global Trade, a subsidiary of United Business Media Limited, is headquartered in East Windsor, NJ, with offices throughout the United States, Canada and Hong Kong. For more information, explore www.ubmglobaltrade.com or call 800-221-5488 (+1-609-371-7700 outside the U.S. and Canada).

About United Business Media Limited

UBM (UBM.L) focuses on two principal activities: worldwide information distribution, targeting and monitoring, and the development and monetization of B2B communities and markets. UBM's businesses inform markets and serve professional commercial communities -- from doctors to game developers, from journalists to jewelry traders, from farmers to pharmacists -- with integrated events, online, print and business information products. Our 6,500 staff in more than 30 countries is organized into specialist teams that serve these communities, bringing buyers and sellers together, helping them to do business and their markets to work effectively and efficiently. For more information, go to www.ubm.com.

SOURCE PIERS Global Intelligence Solutions; UBM Global Trade

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