Soft demand for home goods helped push U.S. containerized imports down 5.4 percent last month from July 2010 after a 1.7-percent year-over-year decline the previous month.
July's import volume totaled 1,432,602 twenty-foot-equivalent units, PIERS data show. The numbers suggest an "anemic" buildup to the annual peak season for holiday imports, said Journal of Commerce Economist Mario O. Moreno.
Second quarter imports rose 4 percent, in line with Moreno's forecast. He expects imports to rise or fall by no more than 1 percent in the third quarter and to rise 1 to 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter. He expects to lower his full year forecast to a range of 2.5 to 3.5 percent from the previous 4.7 percent.
He noted that year-to-year comparisons were affected by comparisons with July 2010, when importers booked early to avoid capacity constraints, but said retailers and consumers are cautious in a shaky economy.
"The downward trend in imports of major home goods such as furniture and sheets, towels and blankets continues on a search for a bottom," Moreno said.
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