U.S. containerized imports dropped 2 percent in April year over year to 1,372,851 TEU, as retailers responded to a slowing economy
Mario O. Moreno, economist for The Journal of Commerce reports that the decline followed a 7.3 percent year-over-year gain in March due, in part, to an early Lunar New Year in China.
Year-over-year U.S. containerized imports from Asia declined 1.6 percent in April, with shipments from China at the forefront, down 3 percent, due to reduced footwear, furniture and toy shipments. Chile followed with a surprising drop of 25 percent, while imports from Hong Kong and Belgium fell 11 percent and 17 percent, respectively. Leading the gains were Japan, up 17 percent, and Vietnam, up 14 percent.
"Latest import data reinforces the interpretation of a marked slowdown in the economy, induced by a lack of significant job growth. It is only fair to ask, what will the Fed do next?" Moreno said. His comments reflect his continued expectation that growth in imports will regain speed in the second half of the year, with the help of Federal Reserve intervention. Overall U.S. containerized imports were up 1 percent in the first four months of the year.
Moreno said that furniture is the single largest containerized import commodity.
More detail is available here.