Wednesday, September 14, 2011

LA Port Traffic in August: Imports decline

by Calculated Risk on 9/14/2011 11:35:00 AM

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).

Although containers tell us nothing about value, container traffic does give us an idea of the volume of goods being exported and imported - and possible 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.

LA Area Port TrafficClick on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

On a rolling 12 month basis, inbound traffic is down 0.9% from July, and outbound traffic is up 0.9%. Inbound traffic is "rolling over" and this suggests that retailers are cautious for the coming holiday season.

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

For the month of August, loaded inbound traffic was down 9% compared to August 2010, and loaded outbound traffic was up 12% compared to August 2010.

LA Area Port Traffic Exports have been increasing, although bouncing around month-to-month. Exports are up from last year, but still below the peak in 2008.

Imports have been soft - this is the 3rd month in a row with a year-over-year decline in imports. This suggests a smaller trade deficit with Asian countries in August.