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Trade war drags on K+N, UPS; Kashmir complication for Malaysian supply chains

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.

K+N, UPS show drag from trade war on forwarders' revenues
The freight forwarding operations of UPS and K+N have both been held back by the impact of the U.S.-China trade war in the third quarter. United Parcel Service Inc. saw revenue growth of 5.0% year over year, driven almost entirely by domestic operations. International operations saw "export volume growth on intra-European trade lanes and virtually all Asia trade lanes except Asia-U.S."

Similarly Kuehne + Nagel International AG's revenues fell 1.1% due to a slump in airfreight volumes. CEO Detlef Trefzger noted "the trade lanes where we see relative better volume growth is U.S., North America to Europe, and exports from Europe to Asia, but a weaker Asia export on the Transpac".

Panjiva's data shows K+N's seaborne shipments from China to the U.S. rose by just 2.2% year over year in the third quarter. Of more concern though are European shipments to North America, where K+N’s shipments may have fallen by 10.7% due to weaker automotive exports from Germany to the U.S.

(Panjiva Research - Logistics)

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Sony, Bosch may face disruptions from India's Kashmir actions against Malaysia
The Indian government may place new trade restrictions on imports from Turkey and Malaysia in response to comments by the two countries' heads of state regarding the situation in Kashmir.

The issue is more significant for Malaysia. India represented 3.6% of Malaysia's exports in 2018 versus 0.6% for Turkey, Panjiva data shows. Malaysian exports to India had surged 17.6% higher year over year in the second quarter and risen a further 8.0% in July after a jump in shipments of palm oil – which have already become subject to higher tariffs.

Indian imports of electrical and electronic products from Malaysia meanwhile fell 16.0% in the second quarter before rebounding 24.0% higher in July. The largest exporter of electrical or electronic goods to India in the past 12 months has been Sony Corp., though its shipments have already been in decline. Similarly, there have been drops in shipments by Bosch – which fell 10.3% in the 12 months to July 31 compared to a year earlier – and by Ingram Micro Ingram Micro New Zealand Holdings which saw a 15.1% decline.

(Panjiva Research - Policy)

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Husqvarna cuts tariff risk, inventories now the issue
Husqvarna AB (publ) reported lower-than-expected operating profits in the third quarter, in part due to "weaker demand in North America". The slowdown has resulted in a 12.8% yearly rise in inventories compared to a 4.8% rise in sales. Panjiva data shows U.S. seaborne imports associated with the power tool maker climbed 9.6% year over year in the three months to Aug. 31 and may have jumped 42.1% in September, exacerbating the inventory surge.

At least the threat from tariffs on Chinese exports has been neutralized. CFO Glen Instone stated the impact of tariffs is "roughly offset by the pricing increases for this year." The firm has also cut the proportion of imports to the U.S. from China to 46.1% in the third quarter from 60.7% a year earlier.

(Panjiva Research - Capital Goods)

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Blame South Korea, as well as China, for California's port activity decline
California's big ports saw a slowdown in containerized freight handling in September with combined shipments through Los Angeles., Long Beach and Oakland down by 1.7% year over year. That included a 1.5% slippage in imports. A 0.4% decline in empty container handling would suggest the risks of congestion in the peak season may have been reduced.

Unsurprisingly. imports from China led to drop in shipments, with a 7.7% slide bringing the third quarter total to a 5.6% decline. China is not the only problem though.

Imports from South Korea have also fallen by 23.7% in September and by 4.1% in the third quarter. Major South Korean exporters to California that saw a drop in shipments during the period including imports linked to LG Chem Ltd., Hyundai Mobis Co.Ltd. and LG Electronics Inc..

(Panjiva Research - Logistics)

Star Wars "Rise of Skywalker" imports appear timed to beat rise of tariffs
Tickets have gone on sale for "The Rise of Skywalker", the final film in the main sequence of The Walt Disney Co.'s Star Wars films. U.S. seaborne imports associated with the franchise surged 36.8% higher year over year in the third quarter, suggesting retailers expect a jump in sales.

Yet, that is still 25.9% below the level seen in the third quarter of 2017 ahead of "The Last Jedi". Part of the surge may be linked to the threat of tariffs on Chinese exports of toys to the U.S. from Dec. 15, where 79.4% of shipments to the U.S. in the past 12 months to Sept. 30 were sourced from China.

(Panjiva Research - Consumer Discretionary)

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.