Global Economics

Global Trade Monitor

Global Trade Monitor

More signs that the trade recovery has reached its limits

While world goods trade fell in July, the signs are that it perked up a bit in August. But stepping back from the month-to-month moves, global trade flows have broadly flattened out at a high level, and we expect this pattern to continue into 2022. With resilient goods demand pushing up against capacity constraints in the global shipping and wider logistics industries, freight costs are likely to remain elevated.

27 September 2021

Global Trade Monitor

Plateau in world trade and supply bottlenecks to persist

The latest data show that world trade has flattened off at a high level. While timely indicators suggest that trade is unlikely to reaccelerate, it doesn’t look set to weaken much either. Consequently, bottlenecks at ports, and associated delivery delays and sky-high shipping costs, should endure into 2022.

25 August 2021

Global Trade Monitor

World trade recovery levelling off

Real world goods trade edged down in May, suggesting that the recovery has levelled off. True, this slight fall comes after an impressive rebound since May last year, global trade remains well above its pre-virus level, and trade data are usually volatile. Nonetheless, the timely evidence indicates that May’s outturn was not a blip and was instead the beginning of a period of normalisation in the pace of trade growth.

26 July 2021
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Global Trade Monitor

Recovery in world trade continues, for now

April’s data revealed that world trade flows have enjoyed virtually interrupted growth for 12 months now, with world trade remaining well above its pre-virus level. But between the quintupling of shipping costs over the past year, supply disruptions, and a potential cooldown in the demand for traded goods as economies re-open, there is no shortage of impediments to a continued robust recovery.

Global Trade Monitor

Higher costs and delays are not damaging demand

The further rise in real trade in March suggests that external demand continued to recover, even as capacity constraints related to shipping were intensifying. And while shipping costs have risen and delays worsened in the weeks since these data were recorded, so far at least, there is little evidence that these factors are weighing on external demand.

Global Trade Monitor

Little sign of disruption from Suez blockage

The blockage of the Suez Canal by the Ever Given container ship, which ran aground exactly one month ago, has had limited effects on shipping congestion and container freight rates worldwide. Meanwhile, data released today showed that world goods trade rose again in February for the ninth consecutive month, marking the longest uninterrupted expansion in over 20 years.

23 April 2021

Global Trade Monitor

Suez blockage could add to pressure on shipping costs

Data from the CPB Netherlands Bureau suggested that world trade had shrugged off rising shipping costs up to January, with real goods trade rising by 2.5% m/m. The outlook is broadly positive. But if the grounding of the huge container ship in the Suez Canal is not resolved soon, it could push freight rates even higher, causing a further rise in manufacturers’ costs and exacerbating temporary supply shortages.

25 March 2021

Global Trade Monitor

Shipping strains to ease as goods demand moderates

While the latest signs are that capacity constraints in global shipping are continuing to bite, we expect these to subside over the course of the year. Indeed, as vaccine rollouts allow economies to reopen, the pace of the recovery in goods trade should slow as consumer demand shifts away from goods and back towards services. In older news, real world goods trade continued to rebound in December.

26 February 2021
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