U.S. Imports From China Down Almost 50 Percent From 2 Years Ago
Date: Monday, June 1, 2020
Computer monitor imports off better than 60%. Seats down almost 55%. Furniture off more than 60%
Overall U.S. imports from China are down more than 36% when comparing the most recent monthly data to data from the same month a year earlier.
The data, from the month of March, offers the first glimpse of the impact of the coronavirus on U.S.-China trade.
Just comparing March of 2020 with March of 2019, U.S. imports from China are down 36.47%. Take it back two years, to March of 2018, before the trade war was in full swing, and imports are down by almost half, at 48.33 percent.
The April data, which will be released later this week, will be much more revealing, and almost certainly more sobering than the March data.
The March data almost certainly reveals primarily the impact of China’s decision to shut down manufacturing operations in response to the coronarvirus that began its journey around the world in Wuhan, a city of 11 million west of the large port cities of Shanghai and Ningbo.
The April data will largely reveal the impact of the U.S. economic collapse after governors and mayors across the nation shut down businesses, schools, restaurants and more to try to thwart the pandemic’s spread.
The collapse in U.S. imports has been so severe that China, long ranked as the United States’ leading source of imports, fell behind both Mexico and Canada to rank third in February, That is its lowest ranking in 180 months, dating back to 2004.
Two of the three products I mentioned earlier — monitors, seats and furniture — are ones in which China is particularly dominant.
Almost 70 percent of the monitors imported by the United States in March came from China, even after the sharp decline. While Mexico dominates a similar product, color TVs, they are not manufactured by the same companies though a OEM, or original equipment manufacturer might be able to repurpose its manufacturing operations to accommodate monitors.
The type of seats most commonly coming from China have metal frames — and more than 70% came from there in March. Again, that’s even after the sharp downturn.
The furniture coming from China is also largely metal-framed — and while China is not nearly as dominant, it still accounted for more than a third of the total. The previous March, in 2019, it had accounted for just under 60% of all U.S. imports.