U.S. Box Exports Fell in Fourth Quarter as Global Growth Slowed

U.S. exports of boxloads of goods slid 0.2 percent last quarter compared with a year earlier as slowing manufacturing in Europe and Asia curbed demand for waste paper and scrap metal, The Journal of Commerce/PIERS said.

The U.S. shipped 3,002,088 twenty-foot units in the fourth quarter of 2011, down from 3,007,531 units a year before, according to data provided today by Newark, New Jersey-based PIERS, a unit of UBM Global Trade that tracks volumes through ports. The decline was led by decreases in exports of fabrics and animal feeds, while growth in shipments of waste paper, the largest cargo, slowed to 2 percent from 9 percent in the third quarter, said Mario Moreno, an economist at UBM Global Trade.

“The whole entire world except the U.S. decelerated in the fourth quarter, and that led to a decline in exports,” he said. “Waste paper and scrap metal are a key component for the manufacturing sector.”

The world economy expanded 2.19 percent in the fourth quarter, the slowest pace since the final three months of 2009, according to economists’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Europe’s growth slowed to 0.9 percent and China’s to 8.9 percent, the slowest since June 2009, data show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Isaac Arnsdorf in London at iarnsdorf@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net

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