NRF: Changing Trade Policies Won’t Weigh on Retail Imports This Year

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The U.S. economy appears to be improving and imports at major retail ports are picking up as a result.

Ports covered by the National Retail Federation’s Global Port Tracker handled 1.43 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in February, a 14.3% dive from January, which NRF attributes to the closure of many Asian factories for Lunar New Year. February’s imports are down 7% from the same month last year, and as it’s historically the slowest month of the year for imports, experts are little concerned about the drop.

“Consumers are spending more, and these import numbers show that retailers expect that to continue for a significant period,” NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold said in the report released by NRF and Hackett Associates. “This is a clear sign that the economy has long-term momentum regardless of month-to-month fluctuations. Whether it’s merchandise for store shelves or parts for U.S. factories, imports play a vital role in American prosperity.”

Imports for March are projected to jump 21.5% over the same time last year, to 1.61 million TEUs. Forecasts for April are 1.59 million TEUs, a 10.3% year over year increase, and in May, imports are expected to tick up a lower 3.5% over last year. The first half of 2017 will likely yield a 7.3% increase in imports to 9.6 million TEU.

This year, NRF also forecasts retail sales will be up between 3.7% and 4.2% over 2016, driven largely by job and income growth, and helped by low debt. As the report explains, cargo volume isn’t directly correlated with sales as only the number of containers is counted and not the value of the cargo inside, though it still serves as a barometer of retailers’ expectations.

“Our view that imports will continue to be stable despite the uncertainties of the new administration’s trade policies remains unchanged,” Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said. “Despite pre-election promises, there has been little real change in trade policy so far and little change is expected for the greater part of the year.”


Recent News

Thread Giant American & Efird Partners with CGS to Enhance Productivity

American & Efrid has formed a business alliance with CGS, a provider of business applications, enterprise learning and outsourcing services, to improve productivity, quality and employee motivation within A&E’s manufacturing operations.

This content is for Annual, Monthly and Limited members only. You can read up to five free articles each month with a Limited Level Subscription. Please log in, or register.
Log In Register
Read more

Retailers are Working to Ensure a Happy Holiday—But Will it be Enough?

Strong consumer confidence and employment rates are predictors of a positive holiday season but not all retailers well benefit from the uptick—only those that learned from last year and successfully implemented their transformation plans.

This content is for Annual, Monthly and Limited members only. You can read up to five free articles each month with a Limited Level Subscription. Please log in, or register.
Log In Register
Read more

Sustainability Roundup: H&M’s Global Change Award, LFW Goes Green, A&F Adopts Eco-Friendly Sourcing Policy

An uptick in circular industry initiatives has prompted brands, and apparel organizations to make sustainability a priority in their supply chains.

This content is for Annual, Monthly and Limited members only. You can read up to five free articles each month with a Limited Level Subscription. Please log in, or register.
Log In Register
Read more