The trade data firm Panjiva
said a survey of 100 of its users found about two thirds of them optimistic or very optimistic about the economic outlook in 2014.
“They’re predicting that expenses will remain stable or rise, suggesting business expansion and increasing costs associated with trade,” said Panjiva in its State of Trade 2014
About half of the people surveyed identified their companies as buyers in the supply chain. Rising wages in “manufacturing hot spots” such as China is their biggest economic concern for 2014. The possibility of a slump in global demand or volatility in commodity prices is still a concern, but not to the same degree as it was two years ago.
With rising wages being a concern, many say they are actively looking for suppliers outside China.
“Though buyers have expressed interest in sourcing in new geographies, it’s not clear that they can quickly shift away from more expensive, established manufacturing markets,” Panjiva said.
It noted that 17 percent of the buyers it surveyed indicated that they sourced in Bangladesh and that of those, a third had shifted sourcing away from Bangladesh in the past 12 months.
“This does not indicate, to us, that there has been a serious exodus from Bangladesh. We suspect that our members, like many large corporations, are electing to maintain sourcing in Bangladesh because of the enormous labor-cost savings," the firm said.
About a quarter of the people Panjiva surveyed work for suppliers. “Two things struck us a noteworthy," it said. "Twenty two percent of our respondents called Vietnam the next sourcing hotspot, and 9 percent of our respondents called out Africa.”
Panjiva said that data from the U.N. Comtrade
database shows that while exports from Africa to the U.S. are decreasing, exports from Africa to China are increasing.