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U.S.-bound container shipments from Asia plunge as inflation bites

Consumer demand weakens and retailers hold off increasing inventory

The Port of Los Angeles. Ocean shipping rates are falling as supply chains return to normal.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Ocean freight shipments from Asia to the U.S. declined sharply late last year as stubbornly high inflation sapped spending by American families on furniture and toys.

With retailers no longer stocking up inventories like they did during the height of the pandemic, shipping rates are sinking to three-year lows, along with the prices for new containers themselves.

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