U.S. containerized exports rose 5.4 percent in August, aided by a weak dollar and rising demand in key markets, and are on track to rise 6 percent for the full year, Journal of Commerce Economist Mario O. Moreno said.
August exports totaled 977,330 20-foot-equivalent units, a three-month high, and were up 1.2 percent from July. Exports for the two months were up 5.2 percent year-over-year, in line with Moreno’s previous third quarter forecast. Through the first eight months of the year, exports were up 8 percent.
August gains were led increases of 32 percent, or 14,000 TEUs, in scrap metal and 119 percent or 8,017 TEUs in soybeans. Moreno said the rise in containerized soybean shipments likely resulted from declining freight rates that encouraged a shift from bulk carriers.
Other commodities showing gains included grains and flour, 54 percent; poultry, 40 percent, and logs and lumber, 17 percent. Cotton exports fell 52 percent or 13,547 TEUs from August 2010. Exports of pet and animal feeds, including compressed hay cubes, dropped 4 percent or 2,281 TEUs after a 21 percent decline in July.
Exports to Northeast Asia rose 9 percent to 434,835, or 44.5 percent of total volume, and were boosted by strong demand for lumber and wood pulp to China. Exports to Southeast Asia rose 12 percent. Shipments were down by 5 percent to the Caribbean and 3 percent to the Mediterranean.