U.S. containerized exports tumbled 9.0 percent year-over-year in February to 923,493 TEUs, the lowest monthly volume in 32 months, according to preliminary figures from PIERS, the Data Division of JOC Group. This 9.0 percent drop was also the steepest year-over-year decline since August 2009.
February was the third straight month of year-over-year declines. February containerized exports also slipped 4.7 percent from January.
“China’s manufacturing sector is struggling, with activity at private firms contracting in March for the third straight month as new business growth declines,” said JOC Economist Mario Moreno. “China’s demand for industrial resins and scrap metals declined sharply in February as a result. Expect more fiscal stimulus shortly with the purpose of putting a floor under the government’s target economic growth rate of 7.5 percent.”
Westbound trans-Pacific exports fell 9.8 percent year-over-year to 522,021 TEUs in February. The largest regional drops were in exports to the Middle East, Africa and the Indian subcontinent, which all slipped 18 percent to 36,348 TEUs, 20,183 TEUs and 29,698 TEUs, respectively. The only regional increase went to the Mediterranean region, which climbed 9 percent in volume to 55,170 TEUs in February 2014.
Among February’s Top 25 destination countries, shipments to Guatemala and the United Arab Emirates fell the most, both down 26 percent year-over-year to 9,674 TEUs and 15,241 TEUs, respectively. Volume to Hong Kong declined 24 percent to 25,208 TEUs. Turkey saw the steepest growth in exports from the U.S. in February: shipments rose 23 percent to 21,083 TEUs. Shipments to the Philippines totaled 11,183 TEUs in the month, up 15 percent year-over-year. Exports to Italy climbed 7 percent, to 11,283 TEUs.