WTO warns trade weakness to continue in Q2 as global indicator remains at 9-year low

The latest quarterly indicator from the WTO showed that global goods trade growth was likely to remain weak, with a reading of 96.3, unchanged from February, the lowest in nine years.

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The WTO had last month cut the global trade growth forecast to 2.6% in 2019 from 3% in 2018 on account of rising trade tensions and increased economic uncertainty.
Global trade weakness will extend into the second quarter and the outlook for trade could worsen further if heightened trade tensions are not resolved, the World Trade Organization said on Monday.

The global watchdog’s latest quarterly World Trade Outlook Indicator (WTOI) showed that global goods trade growth was likely to remain weak, with a reading of 96.3, unchanged from February, the lowest in nine years.

"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 WTO said, adding that the latest indicator did not reflect major trade moves in the last few days.


The WTOI combines several component indices of trade-related data into a single composite index that anticipates turning points in world merchandise shipment volumes.

“The latest result was driven by declines in all but two component indices,” the organisation said.

As per the indicator, 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.

Readings of 100 indicate growth in line with medium-term trends; readings greater than 100 suggest above trend growth, while those below 100 indicate the opposite.
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The WTO had last month cut the global trade growth forecast to 2.6% in 2019 from 3% in 2018 on account of rising trade tensions and increased economic uncertainty.
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