Country Report | Trade Analysis

Growth In Global Goods Trade Lose Momentum In Q4; Says WTO Barometer

Published: March 2, 2023

Global trade in goods is expected to have slowed in the fourth quarter of 2022 and to remain weak in the first quarter of 2023. According to the latest WTO Goods Trade Barometer released on Wednesday, any slowdown in container handling at Chinese ports and new export orders from Purchasing Managers’ Indices have begun to pick up.

“The volume of world merchandise trade was up 5.6 per cent in the third quarter of 2022, compared to the same quarter in the previous year. Meanwhile, cumulative year-on-year growth for the first three quarters of 2022 was 4.4 percent, exceeding the WTO’s forecast of 3.5 percent for the entire year released in October. A decrease in “Actual trade growth in the fourth quarter would be more in line with the WTO’s forecast for 2022,” it said. The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) barometer for global goods trade fell to 92.2 on Wednesday, indicating a further slowing in trade volume growth.

“World merchandise trade growth appears to have lost momentum in the fourth quarter of 2022 and is likely to remain weak in the first quarter of 2023,” the World Trade Organization said in a statement released following the release of the Goods Trade Barometer reading.

In the third quarter of 2022, global merchandise trade volume growth was unexpectedly strong, increasing 5.6% year on year. However, the figure was significantly lower than the baseline value of 100, indicating that the goods trade had declined. either has fallen below trend or will do so soon.

The anticipated slowdown may be brief, as container throughput in Chinese ports has already begun to increase following the lifting of coronavirus measures by Beijing. Except for the automotive products index (105.8), all of the barometer’s component indices fell below trend levels, with above-trend sales and production figures from the US, Europe, and Japan outweighing declines in China.

The export orders index reading of 97.4 was also below trend but rising, indicating a possible upturn in the near future. Container shipping (89.3), air freight (87.8), electronic components (84.9), and raw materials (92) indices were all falling, indicating that trade weakness was widespread and affecting many industries.

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