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  • Writer's pictureStephen Fodor

Chinese trade flourishes thanks to homebound Americans, supply chains struggle to keep up

Monday Morning Wake Up Call

December 21,2020

Foreign Investment Pours Into China Despite Trade War, Pandemic

(Bloomberg) For all the talk of an economic decoupling between China and the U.S. and its allies, foreign companies continue to pour money into the Asian nation.

The coronavirus pandemic and trade tensions have highlighted the risks of over-reliance on China, prompting several countries to consider diversifying supply chains, with a potential knock-on effect on investment.

Yet the latest official data from China shows that hasn’t happened. New foreign investment is on track to set another record in 2020, hitting 94% of last year’s total by the end of November, according to Commerce Ministry data released this week.​

With Americans Stuck at Home, Trade With China Roars Back

(nytimes) American imports from China are surging as the year draws to a close, fueled by stay-at-home shoppers who are snapping up Chinese-made furniture and appliances, along with Barbie Dream Houses and bicycles for the holidays.

The surge in imports is another byproduct of the coronavirus, with Americans channeling money they might have spent on vacations, movies and restaurant dining to household items like new lighting for home offices, workout equipment for basement gyms, and toys to keep their children entertained.

That has been a boon for China, the world’s largest manufacturer of many of those goods. In November, China reported a record trade surplus of $75.43 billion, propelled by an unexpected 21.1 percent surge in exports compared with the same month last year. Leading the jump were exports to the United States, which climbed 46.1 percent to $51.98 billion, also a record.

Supply chain strain unavoidable result of pandemic

(JOC) To say that shippers’ supply chains are in trouble right now is the understatement of the year. And given the developments in 2020, that is saying something.

US exporters are being told by some that equipment will not be made available to them. US importers to the West Coast from China have seen ocean spot rates triple during the year. If they want to secure vessel space as well as equipment, a quintupling is more accurate as a descriptor. The CCFI contract rate index stands at double the value it had at the same time last year, pointing at very tough negotiations ahead in 2021.

Ports and terminals are getting clogged up with vessels now waiting to get to berth for up to a week, chassis are running short, warehouses are overflowing, and import cargo is overflowing the usual storage areas, impeding the operations inside the terminals themselves. Vessel reliability has plummeted to historical lows.

In short, this is a major problem. And usually when there is a major problem, it raises the question: Could this have been avoided? Which is just a polite way of phrasing the question: Who is to blame? And, perhaps, a little more constructive: How can we get out of this situation and how can we avoid a repeat in the future?

Container ships suffer record delays as demand spikes

(American Shipper) You need your ocean cargo ASAP. You know which container ship it’s on. What’s the chance that your ship arrives at the port on schedule? For the answer, flip a coin. Heads: The ship will dock on time. Tails: It’ll be late — possibly very late.

On Thursday, Copenhagen-based Sea-Intelligence released its Global Liner Performance Report for November. It found that average global carrier schedule reliability across 34 trade lines fell to just 50.1% last month.

It is the worst global score recorded since Sea-Intelligence introduced its reliability measure in 2011. The second- and third-worst scores were recorded in September and October.

The year-on-year decline has been precipitous. In November 2018 and 2019, carrier services were far more reliable, averaging 75.5% and 80% reliability, respectively.

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