Global trade to remain sluggish this quarter

An index from the WTO shows growth falling short of medium-term trends, and the performance seen in the first three months of the year might repeat itself.

From the Newsroom

São Paulo – The pace of global trade growth should stay slow this quarter, according to the World Trade Outlook Indicator released this Monday (20) by the World Trade Organization (WTO). At 96.3 points, the indicator hints at more subdued growth than medium-term trends would imply. Scores lower than 100 indicate deceleration, and scores higher than 100 indicate acceleration.

The indicator released this Monday is in line with figures from the previous February report, but it doesn’t factor in impactful measures announced in the last few days – notably an escalation of the United States-China trade war.

According to the WTO, all but two of indicator’s six components dropped: “export orders” and “electronic components” picked up but remain under 100. Scores dropped for “international air freight,” “automobile production and sales” and “agricultural raw materials.” “Container port throughput” also slid, but remains slightly higher than 100, which indicates an upward outlook according to medium-term trends.

Last April, WTO economists had estimated that global trade in goods – which had climbed 3% in 2018 – would increase by 2.6% this year and then 3% in 2020. The WTO notes, however, that a pickup next year will hinge on an easing of trade tensions and an improvement in the international macroeconomic scenario.

Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

Wei Yao/Imaginechina/AFP

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