| Update:
May 29, 2021, 11:46:09 AM

After a sharp but brief pandemic-induced decline in the second quarter of last year, global merchandise trade continues to recover this year.

The latest World Trade Organization (WTO) merchandise trade barometer, released on Friday, showed the recovery trend.

The barometer is a composite leading indicator of world trade, providing real-time information on the trajectory of merchandise trade relative to recent trends.

“The current barometer reading of 109.7 is nearly 10 points above the base value of 100 for the index and up 21.6 points year-on-year, reflecting both the strength of the recovery current and depth of COVID-19 shock last year, “It said.

He also reported that over the past month all indices of the barometer components were above trend and rising, underscoring the widespread nature of the recovery and signaling an acceleration in the pace of trade expansion. .

Among the barometer’s component indices, the largest gains were in export orders (114.8), air freight (111.1) and electronic components (115.2), all of which are very predictive of the evolution of short-term trade.

It also showed that the strength of the auto products index (105.5) may reflect an improvement in consumer confidence, with confidence being closely linked to sales of durable goods. This also applies to agricultural raw materials (105.4), which mainly consists of wood intended for the construction of housing. Finally, the good performance of container transport (106.7) is more impressive given the fact that maritime shipments held up well during the pandemic and therefore had less ground to catch up.

[The full Goods Trade Barometer is available: https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news21_e/wtoi_28may21_e.htm]

A WTO press release in this regard added that the latest barometer reading is broadly in line with the current WTO trade forecast released on March 31, which predicted an 8.0 percent recovery in world trade volume. of goods in 2021 after an increase of 5.3%. decrease of one hundred the previous year. The relatively positive short-term trade outlook is marred by regional disparities, persistent weakness in trade in services and delayed immunization schedules, especially in poor countries.

He also mentioned that global trade has been picking up since the second quarter of 2020, when the spread of the Covid-19 virus caused lockdowns in many countries and caused a sharp decline in global trade.

Merchandise trade volume was down 15.5% year-over-year in the second quarter, when the lockdowns were fully in effect, but by the fourth quarter, trade was above the same period level in 2019 .

Although quarterly trade volume statistics for the first and second quarters of 2021 have not yet been released, they are expected to show very strong year-over-year growth, in part due to the recent strengthening of trade. and in part due to the collapse of trade. Last year.

However, Covid-19 continues to pose the greatest threat to the business outlook as further waves of infection could easily jeopardize the recovery.

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