Container trade and the U.S. recovery

  • Since the 1970s, exports and imports of manufactured goods have been the engine of international trade and much of that trade relies on container shipping. This paper introduces a new monthly index of the volume of container trade to and from North America. Incorporating this index into a structural macroeconomic VAR model facilitates the identification of shocks to domestic U.S. demand as well as foreign demand for U.S. manufactured goods. We show that, unlike in the Great Recession, the primary determinant of the U.S. economic contraction in early 2020 was a sharp drop in domestic demand. Although detrended data for personal consumption expenditures and manufacturing output suggest that the U.S. economy has recovered to near 90% of pre-pandemic levels as of March 2021, our structural VAR model shows that the component of manufacturing output driven by domestic demand had only recovered to 59% of pre-pandemic levels and that of real personal consumption only to 76%. The difference is mainly accounted for by unexpected reductions in frictions in the container shipping market.

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Author:Lutz KilianGND, Nikos K. Nomikos, Xiaoqing Zhou
Parent Title (English):Center for Financial Studies (Frankfurt am Main): CFS working paper series ; No. 659
Series (Serial Number):CFS working paper series (659)
Publisher:Center for Financial Studies
Place of publication:Frankfurt, M.
Document Type:Working Paper
Year of Completion:2021
Year of first Publication:2021
Publishing Institution:Universit├Ątsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2021/11/16
Tag:COVID-19; Merchandise trade; consumption; container; globalization; manufacturing; recession; recovery; shipping; supply chain
Issue:This version: October 13, 2021
Page Number:47
Institutes:Wirtschaftswissenschaften / Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Wissenschaftliche Zentren und koordinierte Programme / Center for Financial Studies (CFS)
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 33 Wirtschaft / 330 Wirtschaft
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht