U.S. containerized imports edged up 0.7 percent year-over-year in May, following year-over-year growth of 2 percent in April, according to advance figures from PIERS, a JOC sister company. U.S. containerized imports totaled 1.54 million 20-foot-equivalent units in May, the highest monthly volume since August 2012.
"Retailers have come to realize that their expectations in the beginning of the year for a resilient, improving consumer sector were a bit too optimistic, resulting in slowing demand for foreign goods starting the second quarter," said Journal of Commerce economist Mario Moreno in the July report of JOC Insights. "Second quarter imports will likely grow by no more than 2 percent year-over-year, which is in line with my expectations."
Containerized import volume in May was up 4 percent from April.
Leading the gains among the top 25 imports were miscellaneous fruits, with a 39 percent year-over-year jump; kitchenware, up 17 percent; and footwear, up 15 percent. The largest declines were seen in toys, electronic products, and address machinery, all down 9 percent.
Among the top 25 source countries, U.S. imports from Chile showed the largest increase in May, up nearly 30 percent year-over-year to 18,718 TEUs. Shipments from Brazil totaled 27,987 TEUs in May, up 26 percent year-over-year. Ecuador's exports to the U.S. in May totaled 10,541 TEUs, growing 24.2 percent year-over-year. Of the largest sourcing country declines, shipments from Japan showed the biggest drop, off 14 percent year-over-year to 46,381 TEUs. Hong Kong followed with a 13.5 percent year-over-year drop to 30,859 TEUs, while Turkey’s volume fell 10.4 percent year-over-year to 9,397 TEUs.