U.S. containerized exports slipped 1.2 percent year-over-year in January to 958,708 TEUs, the lowest monthly volume since June 2013 and the lowest level for a January since 2011, according to preliminary figures from PIERS, the Data Division of JOC Group.
January was the second straight month of declines as December 2013 saw a drop of 4.2 percent year-over-year. January containerized exports also slipped 1.9 percent from December.
“Given that the projection for global economic conditions is virtually unchanged, I am making no appreciable revision to the 2014-2015 U.S. containerized export forecast. Exports should grow 1.8 and 2.6 percent in 2014 and 2015 respectively,” said JOC Economist Mario Moreno in the JOC Container Shipping Outlook, March 2014 report. “My forecast for global growth, excluding the North American Free Trade Agreement, is 3.0 percent and is in line with the latest International Monetary Fund projections. U.S. exporters will remain challenged by an appreciating U.S. dollar, while demand in Europe and Asia will show continued weakness.”
Westbound trans-Pacific exports fell 1.1 percent year-over-year to 548,718 TEUs in January. The largest regional drop was in exports to the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent, which both slipped 13 percent to 38,816 TEUs and 31,089 TEUs, respectively. The largest regional increase went to Northern Europe, which climbed 8 percent in volume to 112,189 TEUs in January 2014.
Among January’s Top 25 destination countries, shipments to Hong Kong fell the most, down 28 percent year-over-year to 22,828 TEUs. Volume to the United Arab Emirates declined 13 percent to 17,919 TEUs, and Singapore followed with a loss of 10 percent to 10,108 TEUs. The Philippines saw the steepest growth in exports from the U.S. in January: shipments rose 20 percent to 12,379 TEUs. Shipments to the Netherlands totaled 18,151 TEUs in the month, up 17 percent year-over-year. Exports to Germany climbed 11 percent, to 19,093 TEUs.