by Bill McBride on 4/16/2012 07:49:00 PM
Monday, April 16, 2012
The following graphs are for inbound and outbound traffic at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in TEUs (TEUs: 20-foot equivalent units or 20-foot-long cargo container).
Container traffic gives us an idea about the volume of goods being exported and imported - and possibly some hints about the trade report for March. LA area ports handle about 40% of the nation's container port traffic.
To remove the strong seasonal component for inbound traffic, the first graph shows the rolling 12 month average.
Click on graph for larger image.
On a rolling 12 month basis, inbound traffic is up 0.9% from February, and outbound traffic is up 0.2%.
The rolling 12 months of imports started declining last year - and exports seemed to stall. But it now appears both imports and exports are increasing again (slightly).
The 2nd graph is the monthly data (with a strong seasonal pattern for imports).
For the month of March, loaded outbound traffic was up 2.6% compared to March 2011, and loaded inbound traffic was up 12.8% compared to March 2011.
This is a new record for exports (just above the pre-recession peak).
Note: Every year imports decline in February mostly because of the Chinese New Year and rebounds in March. February 2012 was an especially steep decline, and some of the February traffic was probably pushed into March.