Little Change for November’s Logistics Confidence IndexBy Joseph R. Fonseca
Little month-to-month change as the November Stifel Logistics Confidence Index increased only 0.1 points to 59.0. Compared to November 2013, the overall index is up 1.9 points however, this is down from the October year-over-year increase of 3.8 points as noted in last month’s analysis. Is this an indication of an economic slowdown or is it simply due to the time of year?
The present situation sub-index suggests it could be related to an economic slowdown. For airfreight, November 2013 data indicates strong gains were made. The airfreight present situation sub-index increased 2.8 points to 50.9 and all lanes except US to Europe noted good increases. In comparison, for November 2014, the airfreight present situation sub-index increased 0.7 points to 54.1. Asia to Europe and Europe to US lanes remained strong as they did for November 2013, increasing 4.5 and 1.4 points to 63.4 and 47.5. However, the Europe to Asia lane declined 1.3 points for November 2014 but increased 5.3 points for November 2013 while the US to Europe lane remained problematic for both time periods.
Meanwhile, sea freight declined 1.2 points to 56.5 with all lanes declining. Similar to airfreight, November 2013 indicates positive gains for all lanes except the US to Europe lane which declined for both time periods.
6-month Expected Situation
The outlook appears to be mixed and thus could further indicate a possible economic slowing. The sub-index for airfreight notes only a 0.1 point rise to 59.7 in November 2014. Compared to November 2013, this sub-index increased 0.4 points to 61.6. The Asia to Europe lane recorded the biggest decline for November 2014 at 1.9 points. Ironically, this same lane recorded the biggest gain for November 2013 at 1.6 points. Meanwhile, the Europe to US lane increased the greatest for November 2014, 3.0 points but, again, for November 2013, it had the biggest decline for November 2013 of 2.0 points to 57.1 points.
It’s a bit more promising for sea freight. For November 2014, the sub-index increased 0.8 points to 65.5 as opposed to a slight decline of 0.1 points to 62.0 for November 2013. Similar patterns, however, as for November 2013 when lanes were mixed with declines in both the US lanes. In comparison, November 2014 noted improving conditions for the Europe to US lane but declines for the US to Europe lane still.
Monthly Industry Question
Survey participants were asked if they expected an airfreight peak for fourth quarter. A majority, 51.5%, did indicate they expected one while 36.4% indicated no peak for airfreight and 12.1% of the participants were unsure.
Of those that expecting a peak season for airfreight, the majority of participants, 50.8%, expect the duration to last 3-4 weeks whereas 25.4% expect it last longer than 4 weeks and 23.9% expect airfreight peak season to last less than 3 weeks.