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.
Tariffs take toll on US imports from clothes to chemicals
The U.S.-China trade war is taking an increasing toll on U.S. imports. Seaborne imports from China fell 7.6% year over year in September, following a 4.6% slide in the prior three months. While shipments from Vietnam and India continued to improve, that could not prevent total U.S. seaborne imports from falling 1.7% in September.
Consumer goods products are showing clear signs of tariff stress. Total U.S. imports of furniture fell 4.9% after tariff increases in May. Shipments of apparel — where many products became subject to duties in September — increased by just 0.1% after a 7.5% rise in the prior three months.
The industrial sector has also continued to see lower imports with chemicals shipments down 9.9% in September, compared to a year earlier. Capital goods have finally begun to reverse with a 4.4% drop, following a 1.4% improvement in the prior three months.
Ford, Meritor may face supply chain risks from further Turkish sanctions
U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to "swiftly destroy" the Turkish economy if the government does not pull back from military action in Syria, with Vice President Mike Pence due to visit the region soon. The initial round of sanctions included section 232 duty increases for steel imports from Turkey.
Subsequent rounds could include the automotive sector. A decision by Trump on similar section 232 duties in the automotive sector are due in November and where imports from Turkey represented $1.09 billion, or 10.3% of the total. That compares to just $401 million in steel imports, per Panjiva data.
The largest U.S. seaborne importer by weight from Turkey of autos products is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, though that represents shipments of the Promaster van that are mostly shipped on to Mexico.
Imports associated with Ford Motor Co. include brake and drive systems and have already fallen by 31.3% year over year in the third quarter. Similarly shipments of axle housing and others associated with Meritor Inc. declined by 6.1% over the same period.
Reliance relies on barter with PdVSA as oil sanctions widen
India's oil refiners are facing increasing challenges due to U.S. sanctions on imports from Iran and Venezuela which have come at the same time demand is rising. Total Indian crude oil imports rose 10.2% year over year in the 12 months to June 30, with shipments from Iran having dropped to zero in June, according to Panjiva data.
Reliance Industries Ltd. has responded to U.S. sanctions against Venezuela with a barter system, swapping diesel exports for Venezuelan crude oil imports from Petróleos de Venezuela SA.
While Venezuela only represented 1.5% of total Indian imports over the past 12 months, it accounted for 22.5% of Reliance's shipments. That made Reliance the most exposed of the top 10 oil importers to Venezuela, followed by Nayara Energy Ltd., which sourced 19.6% of its imports from Venezuela.
Thyssenkrupp, ArcelorMittal lose out even as Vale recovers from disaster
Brazilian iron ore miner Vale SA has reported a 35.4% sequential increase in production in the third quarter. The recovery compares to the prior period which included a mining disaster and means the production was still down by 17.4%, compared to the same period a year earlier.
Panjiva data shows, Vale's exports of iron ore from Brazil have similarly jumped 125.3% in August since their April trough, but were nonetheless down by 9.7%, compared to a year earlier. Increased exports by Anglo American PLC and Cia. Siderúrgica Nacional made up much of the difference, though total Brazilian exports were still down 1.6% year over year in August.
Vale's Chinese customers have avoided the brunt of the reduced output on a year-over-year basis with a decline of just 2.6%. European buyers including thyssenkrupp AG and ArcelorMittal have not been given priority as their imports dropped 39.8% over the same period.
HP Inc. needs a leaf from Compal's notebook if trade war worsens
Improving U.S.-China trade relations have reduced the likelihood of U.S. laptop computer imports becoming subject to tariffs from mid-December. That may accelerate the decline in imports seen in August, which was linked to the earlier delay in the application of duties on the products that had been scheduled for September.
U.S. imports of laptops fell by 4.0% in August after an inventory-building 21.4% surge in the prior three months — a similar pattern has been seen in phone imports. The drop in laptop imports likely continued in September — seaborne imports slumped by 41.1% year over year.
The major laptop importers have followed different supply chain strategies. China represented 91.8% of total U.S. imports in the past 12 months. By contrast, Taiwan and Vietnam accounted for 37.3% and 20.6% of U.S. seaborne shipments associated with Compal Electronics Inc. year-to-date, respectively, though September imports have fallen. While shipments associated with HP Inc. have increased, China represents 100% of the total, potentially leaving HP exposed to any reversal of U.S.-China relations.
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.
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