Volume backlash already in February
Seasonally adjusted, the container throughput index of the RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute for Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) fell to the lowest value in its history in February, dropping 10.9 points to 102.5.
In contrast, the readjustment of the index for January remained moderate, with a minus of 2.2 points to 113.4. The driving force behind the fall in volumes were the Chinese ports, but also ports on the West Coast of the USA. Here, the trade conflict with China has an adverse impact on business, while the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic will start to show their effect as from March 2020.
In China, the decline is most likely to be due to the lack in loading capacities because of the quarantine measures. The fall in industrial production followed by a decrease in imports and exports will have its full impact in March.
The current flash estimate is based on data gathered from 44 ports that handle about 65% of the throughput described in the index. Roland Döhrn, RWI's head of macroeconomics: "February showed an unprecedented slump in container throughput. More downturns are expected for March." (mw)