New data from the Panjiva research team. Interestingly, our analysis of the U.S. shipping data through March seems to back up U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s recent claim that “the decline in world trade may be abating.” Specifically, from February to March, there was a slight increase in the number of companies shipping to U.S. customers (up to 120K in March, versus 118K in February). That’s the good news.
The bad news is that there is still a tremendous amount of risk in the system. At the end of March, as usual, we took a look at significant manufacturers, and we found that 30% of these companies qualified for the Panjiva Watch List, as a result of suffering a 50% or greater decline in volume shipped to U.S. customers during the most recent three month period, versus the same period a year ago.
Also, 40% of significant U.S. buyers have an active relationship with at least one Panjiva Watch List manufacturer.
The comparable numbers for February were similar: 29% of significant manufacturers were on the Panjiva Watch List, and 40% of significant U.S. buyers maintained an active relationship with at least one Panjiva Watch List manufacturer.
Bottom line… There’s some chance we’ve hit bottom, but it’s quite clear that we’re not remotely out of the woods yet.