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FedEx hopes for growth despite sliding exports; Vietnam wins US-China trade war

The Supply Chain Daily provides a curated overview of Panjiva's research and insights covering global trade policy, the logistics sector and industrial supply chains.

FedEx's European growth hopes defy 2 months of sliding exports
Freight forwarder FedEx Corp.'s revenue growth slowed in its most recent quarterly report due to "Asia volume weakness" that has "deepened post-Chinese New Year," according to CFO Alan Graf. With nine Asian countries having reported data for February, there has been an average 5.4% year-over-year drop in exports.

The outlook in Europe may be brighter with the "package business in Europe growing again," according to Frederick W. Smith. That would mark a significant turnaround after a 5.5% drop in exports in December 2018 and a further 5.3% slide in January.

(Panjiva Research - Logistics)

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Vietnam may be winning the US-China trade war
Continued uncertainties about the outcome to the U.S.-China trade war may be leading companies to accelerate changes in their supply chains to include sourcing from other countries. Vietnam has been one beneficiary of that process over the longer term.

Vietnam's export development has been rapid. Electricals and electronics accounted for 32.4% of exports in 2016, compared to 5.9% in 2007. That is twice as fast as China, which reached 26.4% in 2017 from 13.4% in 1997. Vietnam's export growth outpaced China in 2017 with 21.6% year-over-year growth, compared to China's 7.9%.

More recently, Vietnamese exports to the U.S. by sea climbed 17.3% year over year in the first two months of 2019, compared to a 4.9% drop for China. Vietnamese export growth has been particularly strong in products where the U.S. has applied tariffs to imports from China. Vietnam's exports of furniture to the U.S. grew 24.9% year over year in the first two months of 2019 while capital goods shipments climbed 16.1%.

(Panjiva Research - Policy)

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Mexico-Brazil trade deal provides Ford, GM with USMCA alternatives
Mexico and Brazil have launched a free-trade area for cars and light trucks, allowing duty free trade subject to a 40% local content requirement. Bilateral trade in completed vehicles between the two countries reached $5.35 billion in 2018. That was only equivalent to 7.4% of Mexico's trade in vehicles, reflecting the importance of the U.S.

The deal may help automakers in Mexico diversify away from the U.S. ahead of the implementation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The most exposed automakers to the U.S. in terms of Mexico exports in 2018 were Ford Motor Co. — with 91.0% of exports headed to the U.S. — followed by General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.

(Panjiva Research - Autos)

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Houston has a problem as traffic drops, fire rages
A petrochemical fire near Port Houston, Texas, has come as the port struggles with falling volumes. General cargo exports dropped 23.8% year over year in February and containerized freight fell 0.1%, ending a 12-month run of growth. The slippage was caused in part by an 11.1% drop in empty container shipments, while imports of loaded containers actually increased by 2.5%. Among the major container-lines CMA CGM SA inbound freight increased by 2.5% while Hapag-Lloyd AG saw an 11.5% drop.

(Panjiva Research - Logistics)

Fabricated steel case may build up USMCA risks
The U.S. government is proceeding with an investigation into alleged dumping of fabricated structural steel from China, Canada and Mexico. The case may prove controversial in the context of attempts to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal given Canada and Mexico want to remove U.S. steel duties. U.S. imports of structural steel climbed 12.1% year over year in 2019.

Chinese seaborne shipments to the U.S. fell by 16.9% year over year in December 2018, compared to imports from Mexico, which surged 34.5%. The case could have a wide-ranging impact on steel supply chains for infrastructure installers, including Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises Inc. as well as steel specialists including Tenaris SA and Schuff Steel Co. Inc.

(Panjiva Research - Metals and Mining)

Christopher Rogers is a senior researcher at Panjiva, which is part of S&P Global Market Intelligence. This content does not constitute investment advice, and the views and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The Supply Chain Daily has an editorial deadline of 7:30 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current at the time of publication. S&P Global Market Intelligence is not responsible if those links are unavailable later.

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