PIERS Trade Horizons Reports: U.S. Containerized Trade Shows Signs of Recovery

New trading partners Vietnam and Jordan emerge as players in the latest waterborne import-export statistics

Jan 28, 2010, 11:53 ET from PIERS Global Intelligence Solutions

NEWARK, N.J., Jan. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. containerized imports were down 14.8% in third quarter 2009 compared with the same period the prior year, continuing the deceleration that began in second quarter 2009, according to PIERS Trade Horizons.

U.S. containerized exports in third quarter 2009 also compare poorly with third quarter 2008. But the 8.2% decline was better (by almost 9 percentage points) than had been forecast, and a big improvement over the 14.1% drop a year ago in second quarter 2009.

U.S. export performance is almost entirely attributable to the persistent weakness of the U.S. in international currency markets, says PIERS Trade Horizons. The improvement in import volumes is in line with other economic indicators, including the return to positive growth in the third quarter, marking the end of the recession.

The PIERS trade statistics reveal the emergence of new U.S. trading partners. Trade from Southeast Asia to the U.S. performed above expectations, driven by Vietnamese exporters, who have been relatively unscathed by the U.S. slowdown. The country helped lift the region's share of the U.S. export market by 0.4% in the third quarter. Vietnam is also buying more, and is set to overtake Indonesia as the region's top destination for U.S. exports.

While reduced oil revenues in Saudi Arabia weakened volumes to the Middle East, trade to the U.A.E. soared 22.0%. Trade between the U.S. and Jordan, two countries linked by a free-trade agreement, also helped buoy exports to this region by 5.8%.

U.S. imports from Jordan increased 15.3% in third quarter 2009. Coming on the heels of the second quarter 18.3% increase, trade from Jordan almost single-handedly held regional imports to a modest –3.2% fall-off.

Based on third-quarter 2009 data, PIERS Trade Horizons is forecasting a 14.1% increase in imports from the Middle East, thanks in large part to revival in the apparel trade under the U.S.-Jordan FTA.

PIERS Trade Horizons statistics on U.S. containerized trade with the rest of the world are the latest available. The quarterly also forecasts container trade two years out.

While cautioning that the outlook at such turning points in the economy can be murky, PIERS Trade Horizons interprets the available data as indicating the recession is essentially over, but the return to sustained growth will be gradual and, once achieved, will be moderately paced.

The PIERS forecast for import trade volumes in 2010 now calls for annual growth of 6.2%. Growth in export volumes of 5.4% is projected for the new year.

About PIERS Trade Horizons

PIERS Trade Horizons provides comprehensive quarterly statistics on U.S. waterborne import-export trade on the past two years, forecasts trade quarter-by-quarter two years out, and analyzes the commercial and economic factors driving the numbers.

Members of the media may direct inquiries to 973-848-7151. For information on subscribing to PIERS Trade Horizons, contact 800-952-3839, extension 7175.

About PIERS Global Intelligence Solutions

PIERS is the primary source of U.S. waterborne trade information and a leader in global trade solutions. Launched over 30 years ago by The Journal of Commerce as the Port Import Export Reporting Service, its first venture in electronic information, PIERS quickly became the standard reference on container trade for the maritime industry.

A roster of over 6,000 private industry, trade association, and domestic and foreign government clients, representing more than 40 countries, relies on PIERS to translate trade data into meaningful intelligence that guides their global business strategies. For more information visit www.piers.com.

About UBM Global Trade

UBM Global Trade has been the leading provider of proprietary data, news, business intelligence and analytical content supporting commercial maritime, rail, trucking, warehousing and logistics industries worldwide since 1827. The company's portfolio of online, print and interactive workflow business solutions includes The Journal of Commerce, The Journal of Commerce Conferences, PIERS Global Intelligence Solutions and an array of international trade and transportation databases and directories. UBM Global Trade, a subsidiary of United Business Media Limited, is headquartered in Newark, NJ, with offices throughout the United States. For more information, explore http://www.ubmglobaltrade.com or call 800-221-5488 (+1-609-371-7700 outside the U.S. and Canada).

SOURCE PIERS Global Intelligence Solutions