Global merchandise trade continues its robust recovery from the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the latest reading of the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s Goods Trade Barometer.
“The latest barometer reading of 110.4 is the highest on record since the indicator was first released in July 2016, and up more than 20 points year-on-year,” said a WTO press statement on Wednesday.
The latest reading was recorded on August 18.
“The rise in the barometer reflects both the strength of current trade expansion and the depth of the pandemic-induced shock in 2020,” it said, adding that although still well above the trend, “the index has started to rise at a decreasing rate, which could presage a peaking of upward momentum in trade.”
The Goods Trade Barometer is a composite leading indicator that provides real-time information on the trajectory of merchandise trade relative to recent trends ahead of conventional trade volume statistics.
World merchandise trade volume dropped sharply in the first half of 2020 due to the pandemic before rebounding in the second half of the year, according to the World Trade Statistical Review 2021.
“The volume of merchandise trade dropped by 5.3 per cent in 2020 while real GDP at market exchange rates declined by 3.6 per cent,” the annual flagship report of the WTO said two weeks back.
“The decline in merchandise trade in 2020 was even larger when measured in nominal US dollar terms, with the value of exports falling by nearly 8.0 per cent to US$ 17.58 trillion,” it added.
The latest barometer reading is broadly consistent with the WTO's most recent trade forecast of March 31, which foresaw an 8.0 per cent increase in the volume of world merchandise trade in 2021 following a 5.3 per cent drop in the last year.