U.S. Imports at Full Speed Show Uneven Global Recovery Pace



Brendan Murray | Bloomberg

A surge of imports into the U.S. economy shows little sign of slowing down, clogging American ports and highlighting ways the pandemic is still causing imbalances in the global recovery.

Consider the number of inbound shipping containers through the 10 largest U.S. ports. They rose 12.5% in January from a year earlier after a 23% surge a month earlier and a 25% jump in November, according to data compiled by John McCown, an industry veteran and founder of Blue Alpha Capital.

But American exports have seen no such boom: The volume of outbound containers fell 7.6% in January from a year ago, the 12th straight drop.

The divergence was apparent in Commerce Department figures last week showing the nation’s merchandise trade deficit expanded to $83.74 billion in January, the second-widest in records back to 1989, as the value of imports hit a new peak.

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