Sea Container Counts are down month-over-month (MoM) and up year-over-year (YoY) according to September 2010 data released by the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Most consumer goods enter and leave the USA through these ports inside of sea containers.
This is unadjusted data which must be first analyzed YoY, then MoM. Because sea container counts are a little noisy, it is difficult to make precise statements regarding the amount of growth. September historically has less exports – and in the opinion of Econintersect have most likely strengthened MoM if the data is adjusted for seasonal variation.
Imports are harder to judge as it appears the New Normal is different than the old normal where container counts now fall between August and September. The drop in September 2010 appears larger than normal which suggests a slight contraction using seasonal adjustments. Caution: One month does not make a trend.
As much consumer items are imported, the data is suggesting retail traders are anticipating lower consumer sales in the month ahead. This data is consistent with Econintersect’s zero / low growth economic outlook.