Tuesday, April 21, 2009
US exports appear to be rebounding significantly after collapsing in the fourth quarter. The top chart shows the number of outbound containers from the Port of Los Angeles through March. A chart of outbound containers from the Port of Long Beach shows a similar rebound. The bottom chart shows US goods exports through February. Together, these two ports handle about 40% of U.S. container traffic, according to Bloomberg.
Given the lags involved with US trade statistics, it is not hard to believe that container shipment data are giving us an advance look at what should be a strong rebound in US goods exports to be released in coming months.
Trade collapsed in the final months of last year as consumers everywhere shut their pocketbooks, and as the banking crisis resulted in a virtual cessation of letters of credit, an essential ingredient in global trade. The international wheels of commerce now seem to be turning once again. This is strong evidence that the US economy is at the very least not collapsing, and is likely stabilizing. It's also good news for the global economy as well.
Inbound container shipments have also bounced, but not by as much as outbound traffic has. That suggests the US economy may be leading the way to recovery, just as we led the global economy down last year.
Posted by Scott Grannis at 6:49 PM