The State of Trade in 2014 Report Reveals Optimism

Respondents expressed concern about rising wages in manufacturing hotspots and the possibility of a slump in global demand


New YorkFeb. 3, 2014Panjiva, the data company enabling global trade, unveiled The State of Trade in 2014, which highlights key concerns, challenges and opportunities those engaged in global trade are facing in the coming year. Based on a survey of buyers, sellers, and people who research or analyze trade worldwide, the report found that respondents were generally optimistic about both the state of trade and the economy in 2014 and expected to spend more in the year ahead as they invest in growth.

While the findings of the report indicate optimism about the economy, respondents did express concern about two economic issues: rising wages in manufacturing hotspots and the lingering possibility of a slump in global demand. In fact, more than a quarter of respondents are concerned with rising wages in manufacturing hotspots like China, where wages are rising steadily according to research from the International Relations and Security Network. Further, the possibility of a slump in global demand continues to cause unease for more than 20 percent of buyers and suppliers, which was also a concern in Panjiva's inaugural 2012 study.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • China remains a sourcing powerhouse for now. While nearly all buyer respondents currently source from China, almost three quarters (74 percent) are actively looking for suppliers outside of China.
  • Africa and Asia may be the next sourcing hotspots. Close to a quarter (22 percent) of buyers pointed to Vietnam as their next hot sourcing region and 9 percent called out Africa, which was not called out as a destination in the inaugural report.
  • Factory conditions don't deter Bangladesh sourcing. While the Bangladesh factory collapse and several other significant incidents made global news, it does not appear that there was an exodus from the region.
  • Suppliers remain interested in the U.S. market. While suppliers are challenged by price pressure from competitors and around 70 percent cite matching prices as a key hurdle, they still hope to engage with the U.S.

"While people have been talking about it for years, it's clear that we are finally on the path to economic recovery, yet those involved in global trade still have some warranted concerns," noted Josh Green, CEO of Panjiva. "The rising costs of manufacturing will create inflationary pressure and lead sourcing executives to seek out new regions where they can find lower costs."

The report is based on a survey of 100 trade professionals conducted in December 2013. The respondents represent buyers, suppliers and others engaged in global trade from companies of all sizes from around the world.

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