US imports sea freight data from freight forwarders has revealed a decline in volumes in February, signalling a slowing in international trade.
According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, the slump follows a period at the end of last year when customers of DHL, UPS, FedEx and others “binged” on imports such as clothes and auto parts to avoid US President Trump’s new tariffs on Chinese goods—the deadline for which was originally 1st March, before they were postponed.
US ocean imports dropped 4.5% in February as these customers eased off, the first decline in volume in two years, falling 9.9% for Chinese imports and 4.6% for European imports.
Reuters reports that tariff delays and stockpiled goods conspired with Chinese New Year closures to exacerbate slowdown.
Panjiva data reveals that overall import volumes for freight forwarders dropped 4.4%. UPS saw a 16.3% drop, FedEx 14.6%, Kuehne + Nagel 9.3%, and DHL 8.4%.
According to Deutsche Post DHL Group’s global trade barometer, trade growth will continue to lose momentum over the next three months, following a weaker global average outlook due to reduced growth rates for both air and ocean trade.