The growth -- imports also advanced 6.2% over June -- marks impressive expansion of the import trade, especially considering last July's year-over-year drop of 5.2%, said Mario O. Moreno, economist for The Journal of Commerce/PIERS.
Year-to-date, U.S. containerized imports were up 3.5%. Import growth will continue to accelerate during the second half of 2012, said Moreno, who expects full-year growth of 4.6% for imports and 2.3% for exports.
"Sales of existing homes were up 2.6% through July," Moreno noted, contributing to demand and driving imports of furniture, the largest containerized commodity, to an 8% increase. Auto parts rose 25%. Other containerized commodities showing sharp gains included bananas, up 32%; toys, up 13%; and refrigeration equipment, up 36%. Increases in furniture and toys pushed China's U.S.-bound goods up 5% to 733,463 TEUs. Overall containerized imports from Asia rose 7.7% over July 2011.
Rising prices and poor demand outlook continued to impact footwear imports, which declined 9%.