World Trade Outlook Indicator Suggests Moderate Trade Expansion in Q2

Written by Sandy Williams

The World Trade Organization expects global trade to continue to expand moderately in second quarter 2017. The World Trade Outlook Indicator (WTOI) rose to 102.2 and was the highest reading since May 2011.

Export orders, container shipping, and air freight recorded strong gains in recent months, signaling above-trend growth in merchandise trade volumes for the second quarter, according to WTO. Demand weakened for automotive products, electronics and agriculture raw materials.

“The latest reading is up slightly from the previous value of 102.0, which suggests that trade volume growth will be above trend in the first and second quarters of 2017 once data for these periods are available,” wrote WTO. “These results are broadly in line with the WTO trade forecast issued on 12 April, which foresaw a return to moderate trade growth this year after sluggish expansion last year.”


About the WTOI:

The WTOI is a leading indicator of world trade, designed to provide “real time” information on the trajectory of merchandise trade ahead of trade volume statistics. Combining a variety of trade-related measures, the WTOI provides an early signal of the current direction of world trade and where it is likely to go in the near future. A reading of 100 indicates trade growth in line with medium-term trends, while readings greater or less than 100 suggest above or below trend growth.

The WTOI is not intended as a short-term forecast, although it does provide a signal of trade growth in the near future. Its main contribution is to identify turning points and gauge momentum in global trade growth. It complements existing tools such as the WTO’s longer-term trade forecasts, and other statistical releases.

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