Friday, August 28, 2015

Asia-North America Trade Boom Expected by 2020

By Mark Edward Nero

Trade from China and Southeast Asia to North America is expected to boom during the next five years, according to new analysis released Aug. 26 by information and analytics company IHS Inc.

The World Trade Service of IHS Maritime & Trade forecasts that China’s trade will continue to increase by more than five percent per year between 2015 and 2020. This positive medium-term trade growth comes despite more recent setbacks caused by the marked economic slowdown in China and weaker growth among other emerging markets in the current and near-term.

“These increases will not be the double-digit rises seen before the 2008 global economic crisis,” IHS maritime and trade principal analyst Krispen Atkinson predicted. “However, an increase of more than 30 percent in the next five years underscores China’s intent to remain a new trade hub-and spoke lynchpin for the rest of the economic world.”

One new trend is the move toward larger container ships to streamline the supply chain. Shipping alliances that dominate east-west trade are pushing the trend toward containerships capable of carrying 20,000 TEUs in their quest to reduce unit costs. Current container ships hold around 13,000 boxes, so the new container carriers are capable of transporting more than 50 percent more cargo. Their push has meant further capacity has become available in the trade.

The analysis also predicts a boom in trade between Southeast Asian countries and North America.
Vietnam’s exports are estimated to increase by 44 percent by 2020. IHS forecasts a 44 percent increase in trade between Vietnam and North America and a 43 percent increase in trade between Vietnam and Europe in the next five years.

“China may be the major powerhouse in the region, but Southeast Asia is making significant headway,” Atkinson said. “In terms of actual cargo, the figures are still low when compared with China’s, but these are still huge jumps for these economies.”

Trade between the two regions is made up of manufactured goods like home appliances or mechanical hardware.

“Vietnam, India and many of the South Asian economies stand to benefit from recent energy and commodity price falls as net importers of these goods,” HIS director of sovereign risk analysis Jan Randolph said.