- US Containerized Exports Plunge Off the Chart
by Wolf Richter, http://wolfstreet.com/
The good news – if you can call it that: US containerized ocean export activity in April inched up 2.8% from March. It was the first uptick all year, according to the Cass/INTTRA Ocean Freight Index. But in the prior months, the index had plunged to its worst level in the data series going back to the end of the Financial Crisis.
The index doesn’t include commodities such as petroleum products or wheat that are shipped by specialized carriers. It doesn’t include goods or commodities shipped by rail, truck, or pipeline to Mexico and Canada. And it doesn’t include air freight, which is only a tiny percentage of total freight tonnage. The index is a measure of export activity of manufactured products sent by containership. But in the overall US trade statistics, the rise of commodity exports papers over the collapse in exports of manufactured goods.
And a collapse it is. The index, at 0.665 in April, is 28.4% below a year ago and 33.5% below the level of January 2010, when it was set at 1.00. It’s less than half of what it was in much of 2010, 2011, and 2012. This is what that multi-year processes looks like: