by Bill McBride on 9/17/2012 02:55:00 PM
Monday, September 17, 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 August. 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, both inbound and outbound traffic are down slightly compared to the 12 months ending in July.
In general, inbound and outbound traffic has been moving sideways recently.
The 2nd graph is the monthly data (with a strong seasonal pattern for imports).
For the month of August, loaded outbound traffic was down 4% compared to August 2011, and loaded inbound traffic was down 1% compared to August 2011.
Usually imports peak in the July to October period as retailers import goods for the Christmas holiday - so imports might increase over the next couple of months, but probably not by much.
This suggests trade with Asia might be down slightly in August.