Imports Are Up, Reporting is Sideways, Let's Get Down to Work!
“The economy is moving in the right direction, without a doubt,” are the opening words from
economist Mario O. Moreno in the JOC Insights March issue.
It’s good to hear positive words again about the economy. A more hopeful attitude can be felt around the country after years of recession and anxiety. Yet it’s hard to shake the doubt that still looms under positive headlines.
It only takes a couple paragraphs for Moreno’s tone to shift with, “I do, however, remain cautious on my outlook for the economy and imports.”
Data in Motion, the PIERS Industry Blog jumped on the positive growth in containerized imports the U.S. has experienced over 3 consecutive months.
“Steady sales growth in both automobiles and existing homes over the last few months drove U.S. container import volumes up 4.1% in January to 1,475,608 million TEUs. This marks the 3rd consecutive month of year-over-year imports increase, and a month-over-month climb of 11%,” PIERS reported.
However, the PIERS blog too quickly shifts to Moreno’s cautions: “The overall employment market is modestly improving, but real consumer spending has remained flat in the last 3 months through January. Higher gasoline prices are a major risk to the import trade as lower disposable income will adversely affect spending…”
Reading Moreno kind of sounds like, “The economy is moving in the right direction, without a doubt; but, I have doubts.” Reading PIERS sounds like, “Imports are up; but wait, they might be heading down.”
How do we as importers, exporters, and businesspeople react?
Imports are up. That sounds good, but as we read homes and automobiles driving U.S. imports up, do we think back to how the latter industry got bailed out and the former crapped out as the country fell into recession and hold our breath?
Quickly spins are put on any news about the economy and American imports and exports, especially in an election year.
Conspiracists on one side say all the good headlines spreading about the economy and our importing and exporting are to make Obama look good and increase his approval rating for the election. Conspiracists on the other side are saying bad news about the economy and U.S. imports and exports are to make Obama look bad and get a Republican elected.
Do we listen to all the spins and conspirators? Do we worry that the home and auto industries are just driving up imports for a crash? Do we freeze at the uncertainty in the news?
Not completely sure about everything that’s happening and not knowing what will happen, too many have frozen in their tracks, just holding their breath.
What do we do?
Stop holding our breath and import, export, do business.
Let the news spin. Allow economists to analyze and walk the line of prophesying good or bad for the economy. In it all find opportunity to strengthen your business.
Imports are up? Good. How do your importing and exporting practices fit into that?
Imports are down for your particular product or industry? Good. Does that mean you can find lower costs on those shoes you import to increase your profits or lower your price to go after a larger share of the market?
Whatever the news, whatever the outlook, there’s business to be done. And doing business is something the U.S. has always thrived on. Let’s get to business.