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A second look.
The original 1Q17 data from Container Trades Statistics (CTS) indicated that container trade within Asia (inclusive of Chinese domestic traffic) jumped by a prodigious 23.5% year-on-year. However, a subsequent revision by CTS included a significant downgrade in numbers and we felt it only right to present what the latest growth rate looks like.
The latest CTS numbers show that Intra-Asia (excluding Chinese domestic) volumes grew by a much more sedate 6.3%. Demand has slowed in the intervening two months as year-to-date growth dipped to 3.5% after five months to 12.7 million teu. Chinese domestic volumes in Jan-May added another 3.5m teu, up 1.7% year-on-year.
Despite the downgrade CTS’ data helps us to gauge Intra-Asia’s position relative to other container trades with annual liftings in the region of 30 million teu, the trade is the largest in the world ahead of the two-way Transpacific and Asia-Europe routes. It was also the second fastest growing, according to CTS, rising by 4% in 2016.
Drewry’s most recent outlook for the container market, as presented in the latest Container Forecaster (published end-June), was created with the knowledge of the change to the Intra-Asia statistics. For 2017, the IMF is currently forecasting the global economy to grow by 3.5% and we believe container throughputs will reverse the trend of the last two years and surpass GDP growth. A predicted 4.1% rise in port throughput in 2017 will translate into an additional 28.5 million teu moves. Growth will be seen in every region with the outlook for Asia the second best (behind South Asia) as total throughput is projected to rise by 4.5%.
Intra-Asia might not be as hot as originally thought, but it will still make a significant contribution to world container throughput growth this year.
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