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Front Page » Top Stories » Trade Experts See Declines Through First Half Of 2002

Trade Experts See Declines Through First Half Of 2002

Written by on November 1, 2001

By Jaime Levy
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An international trade market that was flat at the year’s midpoint will continue a downward slide in the first half of 2002, a high-ranking state analyst said.

Although final third-quarter numbers are not available yet, Manny Mencia, Enterprise Florida’s senior vice president of international business development, said he expects third-quarter figures to be below what they were in third quarter last year and fourth-quarter numbers to be even worse.

"It’s not directly linked to Sept. 11 events," Mr. Mencia said. "Because of the recession ensuing and its impact on Latin American and Caribbean markets, I expect third-quarter numbers to show a decline and the fourth to show a very steep decline."

He said drops can be expected in the first two or three quarters next year.

"We had a recession year in 1993, but I expect once we have those figures, you’ll have to go to 1983 — the start of the debt crisis in Latin America — to find international trade statistics that far down."

Second-quarter trade numbers, Mr. Mencia said, showed a 0.7% increase over last year, Enterprise figures show. The Wachovia Florida World Trade Index reported a lower gain of 0.2% overall.

One of the Port of Miami’s largest cargo handlers said his company is retaining strong numbers but that the ’02 outlook is more daunting than expectations for this year’s end.

"What’s in the pipeline is in the pipeline — orders are placed way in advance," said Jorge Rovirosa, director of Port of Miami Terminal Operating Co. "Usually it takes two to three months lag time before we start feeling the effects of any quirk in the economy. We are concerned about the first and second quarters of next year."

Roger Madan, president of Air Marine Forwarding, said the industry is getting more competitive as companies seek lower prices in a softening market.

"We’re in a period where it’s up to the individual companies. You either sit and wait and hope you survive or go out there and fight and look for business. If you sit and wait, you could die."