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Saturday, August 15, 2009

LA Area Ports: Export Traffic Declines in July

by Calculated Risk on 8/15/2009 01:48:00 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 22.0% below July 2008.

Outbound traffic was 22.7% below July 2008.

There had been some recovery in U.S. exports earlier this year (the year-over-year comparison was off 30% from December through February). And this showed up in the in the Q1 and Q2 GDP reports as net exports of goods and services added 2.64% and 1.38% to GDP in Q1 and Q2, respectively.

This data suggests exports in Q3 are off to a slow start.