U.S. Trade Deficit Lowest since January 2010

Feb. 19, 2013
The trade deficit decreased by 20.7% in December to $38.5 billion.

This country’s most recent logistics numbers (from the Logistics Market Snapshot, courtesy of the Georgia Center of Innovation) show growth in international trade.

• U.S. exports of goods and services reached a record $2.2 trillion in 2012. Exports in 2012 outpaced the growth in imports for the first time since 2007. Exports as a share of U.S. GDP were 13.9% in 2012. (Source: BLS)

• Intermodal container volumes hit a record high in 2012 with 13.1 million moves, a 5.9% increase year-over-year. Domestic container shipments topped 5 million for the first time, reflecting a growth rate of 12.2% over 2011 activity. International containers accounted for 52% of the total volume.  (Source: IANA | intermodal.org)

• Import volume through major U.S. container ports is expected to increase 8.5% in February. (Source: NRF/Hackett Associates)

• The U.S. trade deficit decreased by 20.7% in December to $38.5 billion, the lowest deficit since January 2010. Exports rose 2.1% to $186.4 billion and imports fell 2.7% to $224.9 billion.

(Source: US DOC & Census Bureau)

Here are the other market highlights:

Transportation Indexes:

• Dow Jones Transportation index rose 6.1% during the month of January.

(Stock performance of twenty large, well-known U.S. companies in the transportation industry, average of January 10th thru February 10th)

• NASDAQ Transportation Index increased 1.9% in January.

(Averaged share weights of NASDAQ-listed companies classified as transportation companies, average of January 10th thru February 10th)

• The USDOT's freight transportation services rose 1% in December 2012. The index’s reading of 109.9 was down 3.5% from December 2011. (Source: US DOT)

• The January shipments index fell 4.8% over the previous month and fell 2.5% year-over-year. The January expenditures index decreased 5.5% for the month, and decreased 1.6% year-over-year. (Source: Cass Information Systems | Cassinfo.com)

(Based upon transportation dollars and shipments of Cass clients comprised of over 400 shipping companies)

Imports and Exports:

• In December, the U.S. imported about $224.9 billion of cargo. December U.S. imports have decreased 2.7% in terms of value from November, and fell 2% year-over-year. (Source: US Census)

• In December, the U.S. exported more than $186.4 billion of cargo. December U.S. exports have increased 2.1% in terms of value over the previous month and grew 4.9% year-over-year. (Source: US Census)

• U.S. import prices rose 0.6% in December. Import prices fell 1.3% over the past year. The price index for U.S. exports rose 0.3% in December. Export prices increased 1.1% year-over-year. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)


• The unemployment rate in America increased to 7.9% in January 2013 as there were 157,000 net new jobs. (Source: US DOL)

• The trucking industry added 5,000 jobs in January. The trucking workforce increased 0.36% over the previous month and rose 3.6% over the previous year. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


• Railroad bulk carload freight in January 2013 fell 3.9% from December 2012. Freight traffic in January fell 6.3% from January 2012. Carloads excluding coal and grain increased 1.8% over the previous year. (Source: AAR.org) (Report includes rail car-loadings by 19 different major commodity categories as well as intermodal units)

• Intermodal rail traffic in January 2013 was 5.3% higher than in January 2012 and 2.4% higher than December 2012 totals. Intermodal loadings have experienced year-over-year gains for 38 straight months. (Source: AAR.org) (Report includes rail car-loadings by 19 different major commodity categories as well as intermodal units)


• The ATA’s seasonally adjusted cargo index rose 2.8% in December after rising 3.9% in November. The for-hire truck tonnage index fell 2.3% year-over-year. (Source: American Trucking Association | Trucking.org)

• The spot market for truckload freight in January rose 18% compared to the previous month, and was 28% higher year-over-year. Truck capacity rose 19% for the month, and was up 21% year-over-year. (Source: TransCore Freight Index | www.transcorefreightsolutions.com)


• Global air freight traffic in December decreased 0.3% from one year ago and rose 0.8% from the previous month. North American air freight in December fell 0.7% year-over-year. (Source: IATA.org) (Global air freight covers international and domestic scheduled air traffic. North American traffic includes only domestic freight traffic.)

• Drewry’s recently launched East-West Air Freight Price Index fell by 1.4 points from November to reach 110.8 in December. This brought to an end four consecutive months of gains in the index in which its value had risen by over 20 points since the low of July. (Source: Drewry - www.drewry.co.uk) (The Drewry Air East-West Air Freight Price Index is a weighted average of airfreight rates across 21 East-West trades.)


• Import shipment volume, in TEUs, at U.S. ports increased 6.9% in January from the previous month and rose 0.1% year-over-year. Over 1.5 million TEUs were imported in January, and shipments were over 750,000. (Source: Zepol Corporation | zepol.com)


• The U.S. average industrial vacancy rate was 8.9% during Q4 2012, down from 9.1% in the previous quarter. Overall vacancy was 10.1% in the South and 13.4% in Atlanta during the fourth quarter. (Source: Cassidy Turley)

• In Q4 2012, warehouse and distribution rental rates in the US averaged $5.00 per square foot. Rental rates for warehouse space averaged $4.52/square foot in the South and $3.42/square foot in Atlanta. (Source: Cassidy Turley)

Purchasing Managers Index:

• The National PMI rose 2.9 points to 53.1 in January 2013. New orders rose 3.6 points to 53.3 and production increased 1 point to 53.6. (Source: Institute for Supply Management) (The PMI combines data on new orders, inventory, production, supplier deliveries, and employment. A reading above 50 indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding.)