Thursday, March 16, 2017

LA area Port Traffic declined in February

by Bill McBride on 3/16/2017 04:09:00 PM

LA area port traffic was down in February due to the timing of the Chinese New Year.

Container traffic gives us an idea about the volume of goods being exported and imported - and usually some hints about the trade report since LA area ports handle about 40% of the nation's container port traffic.

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.

LA Area Port TrafficClick on graph for larger image.

On a rolling 12 month basis, inbound traffic was down 1.5% compared to the rolling 12 months ending in January.   Outbound traffic was up 0.2% compared to 12 months ending in January.

The downturn in exports in 2015 was probably due to the slowdown in China and the stronger dollar.  Now exports are picking up again,

The 2nd graph is the monthly data (with a strong seasonal pattern for imports).

LA Area Port TrafficUsually imports peak in the July to October period as retailers import goods for the Christmas holiday, and then decline sharply and bottom in February or March (depending on the timing of the Chinese New Year).  

The Chinese New Year was early this year, so imports declined in February.

In general exports have started increasing, and imports have been gradually increasing.