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COVID threatens Chinese exports as US struggles to restock inventories

U.S. import demand is stronger than ever as inventory-to-sales ratios remain painfully low. Yet there’s rising risk to shipping volumes on the supply side of the equation: Most American containerized imports come from China and elsewhere in Asia, where the delta variant is spreading.

There were two big plunges in trans-Pacific volume last year: one supply-side driven, when China locked down in the first quarter; another demand-side driven, when the U.S. locked down in the second quarter.

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