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China exports shift to Southeast Asia

Outbound containers traded from 10 major countries and regions in Asia to the U.S. in October fell 9.8% to 1,454,613 TEUs, suffering a year-on-year contraction for two months in a row, according to statistics unveiled by American research company Descartes Datamyne. In the first 10 months (January-October) of 2019, a total of 13,789,687 TEUs were moved on the trade route, down 0.6% from a year earlier.

Looking at October container exports from Asia to the U.S. by origin, the Descartes Datamyne statistics, compiled by Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) and bill-of-lading (B/L) data provided by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB), indicated that those from China plunged 18.1% to 833,993 TEUs, incurring a year-on-year decline for the ninth consecutive month. However, they managed to hold the largest share of the pie, Descartes Datamyne added. Ranked second were those from South Korea, which sank 13.8% to 154,714 TEUs, registering a decrease from a year earlier for two back-to-back months. Containers from Taiwan were also sluggish, remaining nearly unchanged from the October 2018 at 82,221 TEUs and finishing in fourth place.

In contrast, exports from Vietnam ballooned 44% to 117,546 TEUs, enjoying a year-on-year improvement for 11 months running, while those from Singapore soared 19.8% to 69,225 TEUs. Containers from Japan grew 6.1% to 44,802 TEUs. Including those transshipped there, they increased 6.8% to 57,649 TEUs on a basis of containers loaded at ports of origin, marking a year-on-year improvement for two straight months.

Regarding containerized shipments carried from the U.S. in October, there was a notable shift in the movement of furniture, as it was transported at higher growth rates from other Asian economies than from China. Specifically, combined exports from China and Hong Kong plummeted 29% to 137,326 TEUs, while those from seven other countries and regions swelled 21% to 95,800 TEUs in total. As for machinery, shipments from China sank 21.7% to 78,921 TEUs, but those from the seven economies rose 4.8% to 40,868 TEUs. Electronic devices from China depleted 18.3% to 83,212 TEUs; on the other hand, those from the other countries and regions jumped a remarkable 48.2% to 38,902 TEUs.

Source: JIFFA