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U.S. Containerized Imports Up 7.2 Percent Year-to-Date

Drop in consumer goods offset by auto parts growth, JOC/PIERS data reveals.


NEWARK, N.J. — U.S. imports measured by shipping volume grew 7.2 percent in the first five months of 2011 over the same period a year ago but the growth slowed down in May as economic expansion weakened, according to the Journal of Commerce (JOC) and PIERS Economist Mario Moreno.


Moreno, who forecasts a 4.7 growth for the year, said May imports increased 6 percent year-over-year to 1.5 million 20-foot-equivalent units (TEUs). A deepening real estate slump and persistently slim job creation prospects have slowed the pace of this growth, he said, particularly in furniture and toys, key imports for the annual peak shipping season.

"The adverse impact of the sluggishness in the U.S. housing market is reflected in the falling of household-related goods imports. Higher inflation and unemployment are inducing a contraction in consumer spending of discretionary items and, as a result, retailers are importing less," Moreno said.

While imports of home goods and toys fell, the JOC reports that imports of auto parts jumped 29 percent year-over-year to 53,574 TEUs, with auto and truck tires up 22 percent to 37,445 TEUs. Shipments from Japan, as factories rushed to make up for time lost following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, contributed greatly to the gain, Moreno said.




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