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U.S. Importers Keeping Inventory Lean, Containerized Shipments Down 2 Percent in April

Furniture Industry News Update - Furniture World Magazine
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U.S. containerized imports dropped 2 percent in April year over year to 1,372,851 twenty-foot-equivalent units, as retailers responded to a slowing economy by keeping inventories lean, reported Mario O. Moreno, economist for The Journal of Commerce/PIERS. The decline followed a 7.3 percent year-over-year gain in March due, in part, to an early Lunar New Year in China.

"Latest import data reinforces the interpretation of a marked slowdown in the economy, induced by a lack of significant job growth. It is only fair to ask, what will the Fed do next?" Moreno said. His comments reflect his continued expectation that growth in imports will regain speed in the second half of the year, with the help of Federal Reserve intervention. Overall U.S. containerized imports were up 1 percent in the first four months of the year.

Leading the losses in April were footwear and miscellaneous fruits, each down 20 percent; menswear, down 19 percent; women's and infant wear, down 11 percent; miscellaneous apparel, down 11 percent; auto tires, down 6 percent; and computer-related products, down 8 percent.

Sales of existing homes are paddling along so far this year, which contributed to a slight uptick in furniture imports. In the months ahead, however, softness in the pace of home sales will constrain growth in furniture and home goods imports, Moreno said. Furniture is the single largest containerized import commodity.

Year-over-year U.S. containerized imports from Asia declined 1.6 percent in April, with shipments from China at the forefront, down 3 percent, due to reduced footwear, furniture and toy shipments. Chile followed with a surprising drop of 25 percent, while imports from Hong Kong and Belgium fell 11 percent and 17 percent, respectively. Leading the gains were Japan, up 17 percent, and Vietnam, up 14 percent.

More of Moreno's trade and economic analysis can be found in his blog or by following him on Twitter@MarioMoreno_JoC.

To become a member of The Journal of Commerce click here . Only JOC members get full access to all content and data on www.joc.com, access to the information needed to fully understand all the issues facing trucking, rail and maritime transportation. In addition, members get the weekly magazine, special reports, free webinars, the JOC mobile app, the JOC Daily Newswire and discounts to all JOC conferences and events. Members enjoy access to "By the Numbers," an exclusive weekly compilation of key industry statistics that provides detailed views of current market trends across all modes. Regular market intelligence reports -- utilizing PIERS trade data -- include Top 100 Imports and Exporters, quarterly Top 40 Container lines, Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic Maritime Forecasts and Top Container Ports and Terminals. Market-sector supplements, including Breakbulk, Cool Cargoes, 3PL, JOC Guide to Trucking and others, ensure all modes are comprehensively covered.

About PIERS -- PIERS is the most comprehensive database of U.S. waterborne trade activity in the world providing information services to thousands of subscribers globally. Launched more than 35 years ago, PIERS was the first venture in digital global trade intelligence and quickly became the industry standard for accuracy, reliability and insight. Our unique infrastructure and proprietary technology allow us to not only publish import data but also complete coverage of U.S. export transactional data. PIERS is a division of UBM Global Trade, and a sister company of The Journal of Commerce. For more information, visit www.piers.com, or call 800-952-3839 (+1-973-776-8660).

About UBM Global Trade -- UBM Global Trade is the leading provider of proprietary data, news, business intelligence and analytical content supporting commercial maritime, rail, trucking, warehousing and logistics industries worldwide. The company's portfolio of more than 100 online, print and interactive workflow business solutions includes The Journal of Commerce, Breakbulk, RailResource, PIERS and an array of international trade and transportation databases and directories. UBM Global Trade, a subsidiary of UBM plc, is headquartered in Newark, NJ, with offices throughout the United States. For more information, explore www.ubmglobaltrade.com or call 800-223-0243 (+1-973-776-8660 outside the U.S. or Canada).

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