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Despite a shortfall in current volumes, forwarders remain hopeful of market turnaround
The Stifel Logistics Confidence Index increased for the fifth consecutive month in March according to the latest survey undertaken by Transport Intelligence. The index for the current and expected situation combined was up 0.4 points to 52.5 in March compared with 52.1 in February.In terms of the present logistics situation, the index registered a marginal decline of 0.3 index points to 45.4 from 45.7 in February. Since beginning in March 2012, the index has remained below the 50 threshold, indicating weaker volumes relative to those expected for the time of year; a reflection of the difficult economic conditions being experienced globally.
Despite being slightly less optimistic concerning the current environment, forwarders’ expectations for the next six months improved. The index for logistics expectations increased 1.3 points to 59.7 in March.
According to the survey, forwarders’ continue to anticipate an improvement in volumes, even though the index for the current situation doesn’t support this degree of positivity. Lucy Palmer, Economist at Ti, commented: ‘Regardless of a decline in the current index, forwarders’ confidence surrounding future market conditions strengthened further. This seems surprising; however it could be that the fall back in the index for March was a one-off resulting from manufacturer closures for the Chinese New Year. Results over the next couple of months will tell us whether or not this is the case.’
In a one-off question this month, Ti asked survey participants if there was a visible trend towards increased consolidation (through mergers and acquisitions). Over three quarters of survey participants (76%) acknowledged such a trend, while only 14% did not. The remaining 10% were ‘unsure’.
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