NEWARK, N.J., April 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. containerized imports in February fell for the first time in four months on a year-over-year basis, sliding 5.8 percent to 1,193,157 twenty-foot-equivalent units as demand for furniture, toys and footwear declined on early closing of factories in China and soft consumer spending. The month-to-month drop was even more dramatic, as February imports plunged 18.6 percent from January.
While the timing of the Lunar New Year holiday, and related factory closings, made accurate year-over-year comparisons difficult, the 18.6 percent tumble from January suggests weakening volume, said Mario O. Moreno, economist for The Journal of Commerce/PIERS. Prior to the slide, furniture, the largest import commodity group, had been leading an import surge.
February imports from Asia tumbled 10 percent year over year, after a 3 percent increase in January. Moreno noted that his first quarter forecast of 1 percent growth in trade from Asia might be a bit optimistic.
"Overall demand for imported home goods remains relatively modest as the pace of home sales recovers at a stubbornly slow manner," Moreno said. "Meanwhile, consumer spending rose faster than incomes in February, mainly at the expense of savings, which raises a concern for the sustainability of spending in the long run."
Moreno's detailed analysis can be found in his March 30 blog post. Follow him on Twitter @MarioMoreno_JoC.
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