Below are highlights from the recently released trade data from the US Census Bureau and the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.
In nominal terms, the February 2022 results continue to show California exports and trade flows through the state’s ports above the pre-pandemic levels in February 2020. Due to rapidly rising inflation, exports in real dollars were down just over 5%, while imports continued to surge as companies sought to counter renewed closures in China and concerns over a possible West Coast ports strike.
Port congestion remains high but continues to ease from the peak backup of 109 container vessels recorded for the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on January 9. On October 20, 2021, when the state issued its measures to tackle the ongoing supply chain issues, the backup was at 71 container ships and 108 total ships at anchor or loitering off the ports. In the latest numbers for April 1, the total container ship backup was 41.
Overall, supply chain blockages remain elevated but somewhat improved from their prior peaks. In an update to their Global Supply Chain Index, the New York Fed Liberty Street Economics indicates that supply chain conditions within the US are only somewhat better than the overall global average. The Index is based on a composite of trade and trade congestion statistics, with the Index expressed as the number of standard deviations from the long-term average level.
Conditions within China, however, continue to worsen in part due to renewed shutdowns. The Euro Area instead shows overall better supply chain health, but with renewed deterioration likely to worsen as the war in Ukraine lengthens.