The Stifel Logistics Confidence Index increased for the fourth consecutive month in February 2013, according to the latest survey undertaken by Transport Intelligence.
The index combining both the current and expected situation rose 3.3 points to 52.1 from 48.8 in January.
Both sea and air forwarders indicated an improvement in the present environment compared with January. The index for air freight increased 3.4 points to 43.1 in February, while the increase in sea freight was slightly less marked, up 1.7 points to 48.3.
The approach of the Chinese New Year was apparent, as the Asia to Europe lane for both air and sea saw a greater improvement than other routes. Most notably, for sea freight, the index on the Asia to Europe trade lane registered above the 50 mark, the first route to do so since the index began in March 2012.
Forwarders also expressed greater confidence regarding the six-month outlook, with volumes expected to pick up relative to the time of year. Lucy Palmer, Economist at Ti commented, “An increase in volumes in the lead-up to the Chinese New Year is likely to have played some part in the rise in the index for February; however the fact that expectations also recorded such a strong improvement is promising.”
This month’s additional question confirms optimism for an improved outlook this year. Survey participants were asked if they expect to see an economic recovery in 2013. The majority, some 60%, believe that the economy will improve, while the remaining 40% do not expect to see recovery this year.