South Florida's ports not seeing trade rebound

While nationwide trade is on the upswing, signaling the recession is beginning to lose steam, activity at South Florida's ports shows the downturn is far from over.

Nationally, economists were giddy this week when exports rose for the second consecutive month and imports increased for the first time in 11 months. But the volume of international trade in South Florida declined unexpectedly from May to June, dipping 19 percent below the same month last year.

"This is the steepest one-month decline we've bridged all year, which is discouraging," said Ken Roberts, president of WorldCity, a Miami-based publication that tracks global trade.

The slowdown in South Florida's international trade is more evident in imports than exports. Although imports have been inching up steadily this year, the $13.5 billion in imports registered in June was the lowest total for the first six months since 2003 and a 23 percent decline from a year ago.

Exports, on the other hand, declined to $23.8 billion — a 9 percent drop compared with the same period in 2008.

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