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Trade Growth to Sustain Momentum in First Quarter of 2018

Posted February 13, 2018

Under Economic Issues, International Trade Issues

(World Trade Organization)

The WTO’s latest World Trade Outlook Indicator (WTOI), released on 12 February, suggests that the trade recovery of 2017 should continue, with solid trade volume growth in the first quarter of 2018. The WTOI’s current value of 102.3 is little changed from the 102.2 recorded last November, indicating steady merchandise trade volume growth. Strong results for air freight, container shipping and export orders in particular suggest that, while the trade recovery may moderate in due course, it will likely continue in the coming months and remain above trend.

Component indices of the WTOI are mostly favourable. Container port throughput (104.3) and air freight (103.2) are firmly above trend, indicating strong current shipments of goods. Meanwhile, export orders (102.8) have reached their highest level since 2011, pointing to sustained recovery. Weaker results are observed for automotive products (101.0), agricultural raw materials (100.8) and electronic components (94.1), which could indicate a weakening of consumer sentiment.

Overall, these results are somewhat stronger than the WTO’s most recent trade forecast issued on 21 September 2017, which forecast merchandise trade volume growth of 3.6% for 2017 and 3.2% in 2018. The next WTO trade forecast update is anticipated in early April. Click here to read more.