Container traffic gives us an idea about the volume of goods being exported and imported – and usually some hints about the trade report since LA area ports handle about 40% of the nation’s container port traffic.
To remove the strong seasonal component for inbound traffic, the first graph shows the rolling 12 month average.
On a rolling 12 month basis, inbound traffic was up 2.1% compared to the rolling 12 months ending in January. Outbound traffic was down 0.4% compared to the rolling 12 months ending in January.
The 2nd graph is the monthly data (with a strong seasonal pattern for imports).
Usually imports peak in the July to October period as retailers import goods for the Christmas holiday, and then decline sharply and bottom in February or March depending on the timing of the Chinese New Year.
Note: The Chinese New Year boosted inbound traffic in February, and will slow inbound traffic in March this year.
Trade has been strong – especially inbound – and setting record volumes most months recently.
In general imports have been increasing, and exports are mostly moving sideways recently.