by Bill McBride on 11/23/2012 09:13:00 AM
Friday, November 23, 2012
I've been following port traffic for some time. Container traffic gives us an idea about the volume of goods being exported and imported - and possibly some hints about the trade report for October. LA area ports handle about 40% of the nation's container port traffic. This data suggests trade with Asia will be fairly steady in October.
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).
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 up slightly compared to the 12 months ending in September.
In general, inbound and outbound traffic has been mostly moving sideways recently.
The 2nd graph is the monthly data (with a strong seasonal pattern for imports).
For the month of October, loaded outbound traffic was up slightly compared to October 2011, and loaded inbound traffic was up 5% compared to October 2011.
Usually imports peak in the July to October period as retailers import goods for the Christmas holiday - so imports will probably decline in November.