WTO expects trade growth to slow down in late 2022 and 2023

Global commerce growth is likely to slow at the end of 2022 and into 2023, according to the quarterly data of the Goods Trade Barometer, the secretariat of the World Trade Organization (WTO) released on Monday.

"Trade growth is likely to slow in the closing months of 2022 and into 2023, according to the latest WTO Goods Trade Barometer released on 28 November, as the global economy continues to be buffeted by strong headwinds. The current reading of 96.2 is below both the baseline value for the index and the previous reading of 100.0, reflecting cooling demand for traded goods," the statement says.

"The barometer index was weighed down by negative readings in sub-indices representing export orders (91.7), air freight (93.3) and electronic components (91.0). Together, these suggest cooling business sentiment and weaker global import demand. The container shipping (99.3) and raw materials (97.6) indices finished only slightly below trend but have lost momentum," according to the statement.

The WTO secretariat drew attention to the fact that the indicators of the November Barometer are in line with the forecasts published by the organization on October 5, according to which trade in goods by the end of 2022 is expected to grow by 3.5%, and in 2023 by 1%.

The only exception to the generally not very optimistic picture at the moment is "the automotive products index (103.8), which rose above trend due to stronger vehicle sales in the United States and increased exports from Japan as supply conditions improved and as the yen continued to depreciate," the WTO says.

The Goods Trade Barometer is a composite leading indicator for world trade, providing real-time information on the trajectory of merchandise trade relative to recent trends. This is the main indicator that signals a change in the growth of world trade two to three months before the publication of statistics on trade volume. Values greater than 100 signal above-trend expansion while values less than 100 indicate below-trend growth.

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