19 March 2024
Canadian Custom Brokerage

WTO goods barometer forecasts weak upward momentum in global trade

According to the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) latest Goods Trade Barometer, global merchandise trade could start to show some modest gains in the first quarter of 2024 after a weak performance in 2023.

The current reading of 100.6 for the barometer index is above the quarterly trade volume index but only slightly above the baseline value of 100 for both indices. This suggests that merchandise trade should continue to recover gradually in the early months of 2024, but any gains could be easily derailed by regional conflicts and geopolitical tensions.

The volume of world merchandise trade fell 0.4% in the third quarter of 2023 compared to the previous quarter and was down 2.5% compared to the same period in 2022. The steep year-on-year drop in the third quarter was mostly due to relatively strong growth in the first three quarters of 2022. Goods trade from January to October in 2023 has been mostly flat, with volume in the third quarter nearly unchanged since the start of the year and up just 3.2% over two years.

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. Barometer values greater than 100 are associated with above-trend trade volumes while barometer values less than 100 suggest that goods trade has either fallen below trend or will do so in the near future.

The full Goods Trade Barometer is available here (pdf).

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