U.S. containerized exports are expected to rise 3.8 percent next year after a 5.8 percent gain this year, Journal of Commerce Economist Mario O. Moreno said.
Moreno’s latest estimate was a downward revision of his previous forecast, which called for a 5.7 percent increase in containerized exports in 2012. He cited weakening European economies, slower growth in Asian demand and a strengthening dollar.
Slumping European markets caused U.S. containerized exports in October to drop 3 percent from a year earlier to 1,008,273 20 foot-equivalent units, PIERS data show. Exports increased 10.3 percent in September. Through October, volume was up 7.1 percent year-over-year.
“Demand from Europe continues to decline as European economies struggle with ongoing sovereign debt problems and decelerating manufacturing activity,” Moreno said.
Following flat growth in the third quarter, exports to Northern Europe dropped 7 percent in October, driven by declines of 38 percent in shipments of motor vehicles, 29 percent in paper and paperboard and 23 percent in wood pulp. Exports to Mediterranean countries fell 14 percent in October after dropping 10 percent in the third quarter. Shipments to Italy fell 11 percent, or 4,981 TEUs.
Significant declines were also seen in South American markets, particularly Brazil, where a marked slowdown in economic activity led policymakers to reverse monetary tightening. U.S. exports to Brazil plunged 25 percent, or 8,491 TEUs, in October. Exports to Africa rose 20 percent, led by grocery products, poultry and vinyl alcohol.
Exports to Hong Kong fell 34 percent or 5,691 TEUs. Shipments to China rose 4 percent, or 8,539 TEUs, boosted by increases of 64 percent in logs and lumber, 47 percent for wood pulp and 195 percent for meat.