In a further sign of China slowing, throughput is down at the port of Yantian, the capital of Chinese export shipping. At this time of year, Christmas orders normally have the port operating at peak capacity around the clock, but informal estimates indicate that hauling traffic is down between 6% and 30%. Firm Q2 numbers have not yet been released, and numbers for Q3 have not yet been generated. However, one telling sign of the slowdown is the absence of traffic jams at the port.
The estimates speak to a strong decline in holiday season orders from the US and Europe. This could mean that retailers are anticipating weak numbers during the most critical shopping season of the year. With orders down from major markets, garment manufacturing firms have no choice but to pump goods into an already glutted Chinese domestic market.
Speculation about a possible Chinese stimulus bill has pushed up stocks, but even a quick stimulus would take months to budge manufacturing numbers, and would likely have no impact on critical export oriented industries.