Friday, April 16, 2010

LA Port Exports Reach 19-Month High in March

LA TIMES -- "The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which together make up the nation's busiest shipping container complex, showed gains in cargo traffic for the fourth straight month in March, boosting trade-related employment in Southern California.

In Los Angeles, the largest U.S. port, exports jumped 15.8% compared with March 2009, driven by such items as scrap paper, scrap metal, agricultural products and finished manufactured goods (see chart above). Long Beach's exports also rose strongly, 10.9%, as both ports benefited from the weakness of the U.S. dollar against other major world currencies. The exchange rates made U.S. goods more attractive and affordable overseas."

MP: Outbound (export) containers leaving the LA Port have increased in 10 out of the last 13 months, and reached a 19-month high in March of 161,817 TEUs, almost 55% above the January 2009 bottom (data here), see chart above. March exports were the fourth highest monthly shipping volume in the port history.


At 4/16/2010 10:11 AM, Blogger Junkyard_hawg1985 said...

This is indeed good news. This is one of the first economic indicators where the data is actually above the level it was when the recession started (Dec 2007).

At 4/16/2010 10:16 AM, Anonymous gettingrational said...

This is excellent and hopefully a long term trend. Export statistics deserve a high profile.

At 4/16/2010 1:08 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Let's spin it the other way:

March exports jump at Los Angeles, Long Beach ports
April 16, 2010

In the first quarter, the Long Beach port's cargo traffic was up 15.9% to 1.3 million containers, in part because of a surge of empty containers heading back to Asia, which port officials hope is a sign of Asian manufacturers needing them for product exports back to the U.S.

Art Wong, a spokesman for the Port of Long Beach, said that cargo traffic numbers "are getting better. Hopefully, things are really beginning to pick up."

But, he noted, the sharp increases for last month resulted from comparing the figures with March 2009, which was one of the port's worst months last year.

He pointed out that Long Beach cargo traffic declined 22.9% last year while Los Angeles' declined only 14.9%.

In March, Long Beach had 206,652 import containers, up from 186,450 in March 2009, and 130,495 container exports, up from 117,674.

In the first quarter, trade at the port of Los Angeles, including empty containers, was up 7.9% to 1.6 million containers, from 1.5 million in the same quarter last year.

At 4/16/2010 3:15 PM, Blogger KO said...

The LA Times article is sloppy saying "cargo traffic", then coming back to the point PeakTrader mentions of the empty containers.

However, the 15.8% is a year over year increase in "Loaded Outbound" containers. And the graph is loaded outbound containers, which are in fact higher than in 2007. Loaded outbound for March was 161,816 and empty outbound was 106,684.

And they got sloppy with Art Wong. Incoming cargo traffic last year was terrible, and still is. Since inbound is about double the loaded outbound, of course they had a terrible year overall. March 2009 was the third worst month in the last 5 years in total volume. Due of course to low incoming volume.

It would have been clearer if they said exports look good now, but imports are still low. Instead they gave a muddy story.

At 4/16/2010 6:06 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Percentages are often misleading. For example, U.S. exports in 2008 were $1.63 trillion and in 2009 were $1.47 trillion (in 2005 dollars) or a 9.6% decline from the prior year (according to National Economic Trends).

However, in the fourth quarter of 2009, U.S. exports were $1.55 trillion annualized or increased at a 22.8% "annual rate," but decreased 0.7% from a "year ago" (fourth quarter of 2008}.

At 4/16/2010 6:30 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

If U.S. exports increase 10% in 2010 (in 2005 dollars, which it hasn't done at least in the past four years), that will add $147 billion or 1.1% to GDP (excluding import growth) to a $13 trillion economy (in 2005 dollars).

At 4/16/2010 6:36 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Ten Frauds Attempting to Kill Exports

At 4/16/2010 6:42 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

I think, it's realistic to believe U.S. net export growth can add 0.5% to U.S. real GDP growth.

At 4/17/2010 3:07 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

In 2006, U.S. exports were $1.42 trillion and U.S. imports were $2.15 trillion, or a $730 billion deficit (in 2005 dollars).

In 2009, U.S. exports were $1.47 trillion and U.S. imports were $1.82 trillion, or a $350 billion deficit (in 2005 dollars).

In 2006, U.S. real GDP was $12.98 trillion, and in 2009, U.S. real GDP was $12.99 trillion (in 2005 dollars).

So, the $380 billion "improvement" in the trade imbalance added 2.9% to U.S. real GDP growth.

At 4/17/2010 4:52 PM, Blogger KO said...

Peak, it is a small share of GDP, but unlike the 5% or so of GDP that we just got due to bigger government, it is real growth. I think exports have much less headwinds than domestic spending. The dollar is back to weakening, and India and China never stopped growing.

Even if the year over year percentages may be deceptive, the actual level is much better than something like auto sales. With auto sales we're at levels from a prior decade, not just a couple years back.

Of course it's not all green lights for exports. Those free trade agreements with South Korean and Columbia are still pending. And I think Mexico still has those higher tariffs from when Congress stopped Mexican trucks from driving into the US.


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