Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/28/2013 -- We maintain our US real GDP growth forecast for 2012 of 2.0% owing primarily to stronger-thanexpected economic activity in Q411. Our overall outlook for the US economy, however, has not changed, and we maintain our outlook for subdued growth at the US' main container ports in 2012, on the back of continuing concerns about the health of the US economy.
For 2013, we have lowered our growth forecast to 2.1% from 2.4%, owing to increasing domestic and external headwinds. The downside shock risks remain prevalent, but the balance of evidence suggests that the economy has and will continue to avoid recession barring a major crisis. There are two major risks to the economy over the next 6-12 months. The first is the impending fiscal tightening set to impact in January 2013 absent an active policy decision to postpone. The second, which we have discussed many times before, is the eurozone crisis, which threatens the global economy as a whole.
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US freight volumes will face headwinds in the form of sluggish private consumption recovery and slow demand for exports. US private consumption will continue to recover very slowly as a combination of still-high unemployment, ongoing deleveraging, low wage growth and a dependency on government transfers continue to weigh on spending growth. The US export sector is likely to face increasing headwinds from abroad, centred around reduced European demand amid a eurozone recession and potential for dollar strength. Just under one-quarter of US exports go to the European Union, and the European crisis is likely to impact upon non-eurozone demand for US goods and services.
Key Industry Data
- At the Port of Los Angeles (LA) we forecast a 4.8% growth in total tonnage in 2012, to reach 66.7mn tonnes.
- At the east coast port of New York/New Jersey (NY/NJ), growth is forecast to be 3.9% in 2012, to reach 145mn tonnes.
- We predict growth of 2.3% in air freight volumes, to reach 53.7bn tonnes-km in 2012.
- We predict growth of 4.1% in rail freight tonnes-km, to reach 2.8mn tonnes-km with annual average growth of 5% during our forecast period.
Key Industry Trends
EU-US Agreement Changes Little For Air Freight
BMI asserts that - considering the beleaguered state of the US and European air freight sectors, with cargo volumes declining - an agreement to simplify air cargo security and by extension cut costs is a positive development. We do, however, caution that with the threat of terrorism ever-present and the airline industry traditionally the target of terrorist plans to attack the US, any new threat would likely lead to an increase in security measures which could fall outside the current agreement's remit.
Strong Growth For Intermodal Rail Link
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