WTO trade indicator shows how COVID-19 is affecting world trade

According to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Goods Trade Barometer, world merchandise trade is falling as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts the global economy.

The Barometer’s index now stands at 87.6, far below the baseline value of 100, suggesting a sharp contraction in world trade extending into the second quarter. This is the lowest value on record since the indicator was launched in July 2016.

All of the barometer’s component indices are currently well below trend. The automotive products index (79.7) was weakest of all, due to collapsing car production and sales in major economies. The sharp decline in the forward-looking export orders index (83.3) suggests that trade weakness will persist in the short-run.

Declines in the container shipping (88.5) and air freight (88.0) indices reflect weak demand for traded goods as well as supply-side constraints arising from efforts to suppress COVID-19.

Only the indices for electronic components (94.0) and agricultural raw materials (95.7) show signs of stability, although they too remain below trend.

The full Goods Trade Barometer is available here.

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