“DDespite falling 1.1% month-over-month in both November and December, US retail sales volume is 13% above 2019 levels and 6% above pre-COVID trends. However, sales volumes may return to trend in 2023, which could put container volumes from Asia to North America at risk,” said BIMCO’s chief shipping analyst. Niels Rasmussen said.
U.S. retail sales volumes have remained an average of 15% higher than 2019 levels since early 2021, aided by COVID-19 stimulus and travel restrictions that limit spending on services. Combined with his 28% increase in retail inventories, container volumes from Asia to the north increased. America in 2021 and 2022 is expected to finish 27% and 18% higher than in 2019, respectively. However, in the second half of 2022, container volumes fell 17% year-over-year as companies began to adjust inventories for a more uncertain future.
“Average wages have finally caught up with inflation, and although employment is high, U.S. retail sales volumes are still at risk of returning to trend. all pose risks to consumption, and therefore to container volumes,” says Rasmussen.
Between 2020 and 2021, US consumers accumulated more than usual savings of US$2.1 trillion. However, over the past 16 months, the consumer has invested in excess savings to maintain spending levels, and excess savings have been cut by his US$1.2 trillion.
As a recent Bankrate survey revealed, the remaining surplus savings are not evenly distributed among consumers, with only 43% saying their savings could cover an unexpected US$1,000 expense. doing. At the same time, credit card debt has increased by US$210 billion since April 2021, reaching a record high.
“If U.S. retail sales volumes gradually return to trend during 2023, they could be 4% lower in 2023 than they were in 2022. However, monthly container volumes could rise from the very low levels seen recently, even as destocking ends,” Rasmussen said. increase.
Source: BIMCO, Niels Rasmussen, Chief Shipping Analyst