WTO says global trade will remain weak in the second quarter

The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) latest trade indicator data (WTOI) indicates that World trade growth is likely to remain weak into the second quarter of 2019.

The new WTOI reading is 96.3, exactly as it was in the previous release in February this year, maintaining the weakest level since 2010.

The international organization says the latest WTOI remains well below the baseline value of 100 for the index, signalling continued falling trade growth in the first half of 2019.

It should be noted that the WTOI does not reflect some major trade measures announced in recent days. The outlook for trade could worsen further if heightened trade tensions are not resolved or if macroeconomic policy fails to adjust to changing circumstances.

The latest result of the WTOI was driven by declines in all but two component indices. Indices for international air freight (92.3), automobile production and sales (92.2), and agricultural raw materials (92.4) fell further below trend. The index for container port throughput (101.0) also declined but remained above 100, suggesting growth in line with recent trends. Indices for export orders (96.6) and electronic components (96.7) appear to have bottomed out, even as both remained firmly below-trend.

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