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19.02.2019 18:57

WTO trade indicator points to slower trade growth into first quarter of 2019

Trade weakness is likely to extend into the first quarter of 2019, according to the WTO’s latest World Trade Outlook Indicator (WTOI). The simultaneous decline of several trade-related indicators should put policy makers on guard for a sharper slowdown should the current trade tensions remain unresolved.

The most recent WTOI reading of 96.3 is the weakest since March 2010 and below the baseline value of 100 for the index, signalling below-trend trade expansion into the first quarter. Weakness in the overall index was driven by steep declines in the component indices, which appear to be under pressure from heightened trade tensions. Indices for export orders (95.3), international air freight (96.8), automobile production and sales (92.5), electronic components (88.7) and agricultural raw materials (94.3) have shown the strongest deviations from trend, approaching or surpassing previous lows since the financial crisis. Only the index for container port throughput remained relatively buoyant at 100.3, showing on-trend growth.


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