Following five consecutive monthly increases, the overall Stifel Logistics Confidence Index fell 1 index point to 51.5 in April. Despite the decline, the index remained above the significant 50 mark, denoting expansion, for the third consecutive month.
However, a look at the present situation reveals that both air and sea freight volumes are below those expected relative to the time of year. Although the index for sea freight remained virtually flat at 47.4 in April (down 0.1 points from March), it still indicates a decline in volumes.
Meanwhile, the index for current air freight volumes fell 1.2 points to 42.0 for the month, indicating an even greater decline relative to the volumes expected for the time of year. In terms of year-on-year comparisons, the sea freight index was 1.4 points higher in April 2013 compared with April 2012. In contrast, the index for air freight was 2.7 points lower compared with the same month last year.
Since the Index’s inception over a year ago, the outlook for the next six months has remained very optimistic with respondents consistently anticipating positive volume growth. Although this trend continued in April, with the index at 58.4, it fell 1.3 points which suggests respondents are perhaps becoming less confident in a market revival taking place any time soon.
Lucy Palmer, Economist at Ti, explained, “Following an encouraging start to 2013, it appears that confidence has since begun to waver. After the shut down for the Chinese New Year, the second quarter of the year generally records an improvement in volumes. However, we are yet to see any sign of this increase and as a result positivity for the outlook has declined”.
In this month’s one off question, we asked survey participants whether they are experiencing an increase in greater opportunities within domestic markets and intra-regional trade compared with inter-continental trade. Over half of respondents (52%) indicated that they had experienced such a change in opportunities, while 37% had not. The remaining 11% were ‘unsure’.