Global Trade Recovery Nearing Peak, WTO Report Says
Global trade continues to recover at an unexpected rate from the pandemic, but new data indicates recovery may now start plateauing, according to the World Trade Organization's (WTO) goods trade barometer reading posted today.
The barometer latest reading reached a record level of 110.4, the highest number since the indicator was released in 2016. The rise indicates "both the strength of current trade expansion and the depth of the pandemic-induced shock in 2020," the WTO says.
While these numbers are still well above trend, the index has started to rise at a decreasing rate, signaling "a peaking of upward momentum in trade."
Each of the barometer's components - air freight, container shipping, raw materials and automotive products – showed above trend growth. However, the new export orders index has slowed "providing a further indication that the pace of recovery is likely to decelerate in the near term," the WTO says.
"The outlook for world trade continues to be overshadowed by downside risks, including regional disparities, continued weakness in services trade, and lagging vaccination timetables, particularly in poor countries," the organization says. "Covid-19 continues to pose the greatest threat to the outlook for trade, as new waves of infection could easily undermine the recovery."