Trade Economists Predict Worst is Over, 2011 Trans-Pacific Volumes Will Hit Pre-recession Peak

Dec 20, 2010, 14:26 ET from The Journal of Commerce

NEWARK, N.J., Dec. 20, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Experts forecast U.S. containerized ocean imports and exports in trans-Pacific trade to return to pre-recession levels in 2011 as supply chain managers move from cautious optimism to stronger confidence in demand, The Journal of Commerce reports.

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Forecast numbers from PIERS, a sister company of The Journal of Commerce, predict U.S. container imports from Asia will rise 7.7 percent next year to 13.4 million 20-foot equivalent units – nearly in line with the 2007 peak of 13.6 million TEUs. Trans-Pacific exports are expected to grow by 4 percent to 6.4 million TEUs.

The growth follows an estimated 15.5 percent increase in U.S. trans-Pacific imports in 2010 and a 4.3 percent increase in exports in 2010, according to PIERS.

"Our forecast is positive but moderate," said Mario O. Moreno, economist for PIERS and The Journal of Commerce. "We look for growth in containerized imports and exports ahead, but there are many risks."

Despite stubbornly high unemployment rates, the National Retail Federation reports the 2010 holiday season has surpassed all expectations, with retail sales also on track to reach 2007 peak levels by mid-year. This week's Cover Story, written by Senior Editor Joseph Bonney, examines the sustainability of this new outlook for the U.S. ocean shipping trade and analyzes the data behind predictions for consumer confidence, the housing market, currency fluctuation and the impact of recent federal monetary policies.

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SOURCE The Journal of Commerce