September U.S. Containerized Imports Fall 6% From August as Retailers Restrain Inventories
Press release from the issuing company
Monday, October 31st, 2011
U.S. containerized import volume fell 6 percent in September from the month before as surging shipping of auto parts was not enough to offset growing pessimism among retailers about consumer demand heading into the holidays, according to figures fromThe Journal of Commerce/PIERS.
The September volume of 1,464,193 20-foot-equivalent units coming into the country was up a modest 1 percent from the same month a year ago, the first year-over-year gain after three straight months of decline. A 25 percent surge in parts to support the recovering automobile industry offset steep declines in consumer goods compared toSeptember 2010, saidMario O. Moreno, economist for The Journal of Commerce/PIERS.
But imports fell 6 percent from August to September, and the disappointing numbers for such items as toys, apparel and home goods signaled retailers are restraining their inventory growth on the cusp of the holiday shopping season.
"Retailers' optimism from this time last year has faded, reflecting concerns around the reduction of disposable income nationwide, an uncertain job market and rising import costs from key-sourcing countryChina," Moreno said.
Toy imports were down 9 percent year-over-year, according to the JOC/PIERS figures. Also down were popular gift items such as women's and infant wear, sliding 11 percent, or 5,346 TEUs; computers, down 14 percent, or 4,100 TEUs; and menswear, down 8 percent or 2,387 TEUs. Furniture and soft home goods also declined 3 percent and 11 percent, respectively.
The year-over-year climb to 54,190 TEUs made September 2011's second-highest month of auto parts imports. Solid gains were also seen in bananas, up 15 percent; miscellaneous metalware, up 20 percent; and miscellaneous electronic products, up 4 percent.
Compared to the same period in the previous year, total U.S. containerized imports were up 3.3 percent in September year to date and down 1.8 percent in the third quarter, which was in line with Moreno's previous forecasts. He predicts a 1 percent rise for the fourth quarter, with "auto parts continuing to post gains driven by a still growing, albeit slow, manufacturing sector and solid external demand."