NEWARK, N.J. — Containerized ocean imports moving through U.S. seaports in June declined 1.7 percent year-over-year, but were still up 6.3 percent in the first half of the year, reports The Journal of Commerce/PIERS.
The year-over-year drop to 1,442,952 20-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) relates strongly to a 9 percent decline in furniture imports, to 142,102 TEUs, and a 21 percent decline in sheets, towels and blankets imports to 23,757 TEUs.
“Struggles in the U.S. housing market continue to stifle imports of key household-related goods, and these goods are falling more markedly now than during the first quarter,” said Journal of Commerce/PIERS Economist Mario O. Moreno. He also pointed to significant declines of 15 percent in toys and 4 percent in apparel imports as signs of weakness in discretionary spending.
The year-to-date increase was due to dramatic gains in auto parts, up 15 percent to 49,950 TEUs, and tires and tubes, up 9 percent to 37,340 TEUs, as well as that of bananas and miscellaneous plastics products, he said.
Imports from Northeast Asia led the decline in June, contracting 5 percent year-over-year to 876,933 TEUs. Auto parts and construction equipment drove imports from Northern Europe up 11 percent to 141,184 TEUs.
On a country basis, imports from China, primarily household goods, fell most dramatically, down 4.2 percent year-over-year to 690,221 TEUs. Hong Kong shipments dropped 11 percent, and a sharp drop in home appliance orders pushed imports from second-ranked source country Korea down 5.5 percent to 56,940 TEUs. Notable gains came from Germany, up 17 percent, and Belgium, up 29 percent.
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