In Depth Analysis: CalculatedRisk Newsletter on Real Estate (Ad Free) Read it here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

LA Area Port Traffic in May

by Calculated Risk on 6/15/2009 05:16:00 PM

Note: this is not seasonally adjusted. There is a very distinct seasonal pattern for imports, but not for exports.

Sometimes port traffic gives us an early hint of changes in the trade deficit. The following graph shows the loaded 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). Although containers tell us nothing about value, container traffic does give us an idea of the volume of goods being exported and imported.

LA Area Port Traffic Click on graph for larger image in new window.

Inbound traffic was 19.7% below May 2008.

Outbound traffic was 15.3% below May 2008.

There has been some recovery in exports over the last few months (the year-over-year comparison was off 30% from December through February). But this is the 3nd worst YoY comparison for imports - only February and April were worse. So imports from Asia appear especially weak.

This suggests a little more improvement in the trade balance with Asia in the May trade report. Of course the overall trade deficit will probably be worse because of rising oil prices.