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Deals no boost for DSV-Panalpina, Ceva; Brexit glitch for electronics exports

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 and draws from global shipping and freight data.

Deals may not have helped DSV-Panalpina, Ceva in forwarders' tough Q3
The freight forwarding sector likely had a challenging third quarter, according to Panjiva's analysis. The airfreight sector globally suffered a 3.9% downturn in volumes compared to a year earlier in August after a 3.2% drop in July, International Air Transport Association data shows. Seaborne freight handling may have also declined with U.S. seaborne imports having fallen 1.7% year over year in September, bringing third-quarter total growth of just 0.2% after a 0.8% rise in the second quarter.

Among the major forwarders only Deutsche Post AG's DHL and Deutsche Bahn AG's Schenker posted improvements, according to Panjiva data, of 6.0% and 5.5% year over year respectively in the third quarter, partly due to their lower-than-average exposure to China. Consolidation has not proven to be a panacea, with DSV Panalpina A/S reporting growth of 0.5% in the third quarter after a 5.1% improvement on a pre-merged basis in the prior quarter.

Similarly Ceva Logistics, which was acquired by CMA CGM SA, recorded a 6.1% drop in the third quarter after a 1.6% rise in the previous quarter. The top three freight forwarders all recorded lower volumes compared to a year earlier, though at least C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., Expeditors International of Washington Inc. and Kuehne + Nagel International AG all cut the rate of decline in the third quarter compared to the second.

(Panjiva Research - Logistics)

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Political calculations could cause Brexit glitch for electronics exporters
Brexit is no closer to a conclusion after the past weekend's parliamentary activity. EU approval for an extension to the Brexit process is by no means certain, though the U.K.'s potential departure comes just as total EU exports have reversed to a 3.3% year-over-year drop in August, Panjiva data shows.

The U.K. represented 6.2% of all EU member states' exports in the 12 months to Aug. 31. Ireland was most exposed with 11.1% of its exports headed to the U.K., followed by the Netherlands at 8.3% and Belgium with 7.7%. While Germany has the largest value of exports to the U.K. at 79.3 billion, it was the ninth-most exposed with 6.0% of the total.

Total exports from the Netherlands have been in decline, potentially making the country keen to avoid further Brexit-related disruptions. The largest export lines from the Netherlands to the U.K. are in the electronics industry.

Consumer electronics have seen a downturn, with shipments of phones representing 8.2% of Dutch exports to the U.K. in the 12 months to Aug. 31 after having suffered a 23.7% slide compared to a year earlier. Shipments of PCs and printers have also declined.

While direct shipping from Asian manufacturers may reduce the Brexit risks in consumer items, tighter-knit supply chains in electronic components may make that more difficult — particularly given shipments have been surging.

Exports of electronic circuit systems climbed 47.2% to reach 669 million in the 12 months to Aug. 31, while shipments of PC components expanded 31.1% to 509 million.

(Panjiva Research - Tech. Hardware)

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Exxon Mobil, Valero help Kansas City Southern's Mexican refined oil surge
Rail operator Kansas City Southern reported better-than-expected profits in the third quarter as a result of rising volumes of refined oil shipped from the U.S. to Mexico, Reuters reported. The underlying market is weakening with total Mexican imports of refined oil down 6.8% year over year in the three months to Aug. 31.

However, the share of rail is surging after a 74.1% year-over-year jump in shipments to reach a 12.7% share. The low share of shipments by rail would suggest further gains at the expense of maritime shipments is possible.

Exxon Mobil Corp. had a 27.8% share of volumes shipped via rail in the three months to Aug. 31, followed by newer users of the services including Valero Energy Corp. with a 13.8% share and Windstar LPG with a 9.2% share.

(Panjiva Research - Energy)

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SQM's quest to boost lithium prices fails as Rosatom joins industry
Competition in the lithium industry is heating up. Over the longer-term The State Atomic Energy Corp. ROSATOM and Wealth Minerals Ltd. are developing a new project in Chile while U.S. supplies are also being developed using technological innovations.

Nearer term the leading Chilean exporters, Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA and Albemarle Corp.'s Rockwood, are also scaling up production with an 8.1% rise in exports in August following a 44.5% surge in July. SQM had previously sought to restrict supplies to boost prices.

That process appears to have failed with the average export value per ton having fallen by 34.0% year over year in August after a 33.3% slide in July, according to Panjiva. The resulting $8,642 per ton export value in August was the lowest since December 2016. A marked increase in demand from the autos and consumer electronics industry may be needed to boost prices.

(Panjiva Research - Metals & Mining)

Global trade downturn led by Europe in August, continued by China in September
Global trade activity continued to decline in August. A 3.3% year-over-year fall in EU exports in local currency terms equated to a 6.8% slide in dollars, bringing the global average in August a decline of 3.4%.

There has likely been a continued "trade recession," defined as two consecutive quarters of falling exports compared to a year earlier. In the three months to Aug. 31 exports fell 2.7% year over year, following a 2.0% drop in the second quarter and a 1.5% slide in the first. Of the 14 countries that have reported September data already, 10 have shown falling exports including China, South Korea and Japan.

The weighted average reduction has been 3.0% so far in September and comes as trade policy continues to be unhelpful — including uncertainties surrounding Brexit, the U.S.-China trade war and Japan-South Korea relations.

(Panjiva Research - Politics)

Christopher Rogers is a senior researcher at Panjiva, which is a business line of S&P Global Market Intelligence, a division of S&P Global Inc. 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 5:30 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.