Friday, October 24, 2008

Port Traffic Declines Sharply in September

by Bill McBride on 10/24/2008 02:29:00 PM

West Coast Port Traffic Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the combined loaded inbound and outbound traffic at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles in TEUs (TEUs: 20-foot equivalent units or 20-foot-long cargo container). Although containers tell us nothing about value, container traffic does give us an idea of the volume of goods being exported and imported.

Inbound traffic should be peaking for the year as retailers prepare for the holiday season. Inbound traffic is off from August, and about 12% below last September.

Outbound traffic fell off a cliff in September, and is 17% below August 2008, and at about the same level as a year ago.

From the WSJ: Reliance on Exports Hurts Asia

The meltdown in Asian stock prices on Friday stemmed in part from the growing realization that the heavy reliance on exports that has driven Asia's powerful growth is now turning into the its worst enemy.

The evaporation of consumer spending in the U.S. and Europe is starting to hit deeply at Asian manufacturing titans that thrive on sales to the rest of the world, and that are now rapidly scaling down their capital spending.
So much for decoupling. It's hard to believe this comes as a surprise ...