The world Trade Organization’s (WTO) Goods Trade Barometer shows signs of bottoming out, despite problems in global container trades.

The Goods Trade Barometer is a composite indicator for world trade which shows the direction of merchandise trade relative to recent trends; the index eased from 99.5 in November to 98.7 in the February update, further from the 100 baseline.

WTO said the barometer showed signs of bottoming out, suggesting trade volumes may improve soon while remaining below-trend in the short term.

The component indices of the barometer were mostly around the neutral 100 level. Automotive products remained the worst-performing index at 92.0, but that figure marks an improvement over the 85.9 recorded in Novermber 2021. WTO said the improvement could be due to a recovery in the electronic components index, as automotive manufacturing has struggled in recent quarters due to a shortage of semiconductors.

Container shipping has its own index in the barometer, which moved further below trend at 97.2, “as port congestion remained an ongoing problem.”

Year-on-year changes in trade growth have fluctuated in recent quarters as the pandemic upset usual seasonal cycles.

“Cumulatively, the volume of trade in the first three quarters of 2021 was up 11.9% compared to the first three quarters of 2020. This is above the WTO’s most recent forecast of 10.8% from last October, but slower year-on-year growth in Q4 should bring the increase for the year more in line with that projection,” said WTO.

Source: Seatrade Maritime News