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WTO anticipates modest pick-up in global trade during fourth quarter

November 14, 2016

The World Trade Organization (WTO) reports that its Trade Outlook Indicator suggests global trade will pick up slightly in the fourth quarter of 2016. Air freight in particular has been quite strong recent growth, while export orders and container shipping have recorded more modest gains.

With a current reading of 100.9 for the month of August, the WTO's Indicator has risen above trend, signalling accelerating trade growth in November-December. This is the first update of the Indicator since its initial release in July, when the indicator stood at 99.0.

The WTO says the current reading is broadly consistent with its latest trade forecast issued on September 27, which foresaw a world merchandise trade volume growth of 1.7% for 2016. The forecast noted flat trade growth in the first half of the year, which would have to be offset by stronger growth in the second half, which the new Indicator reading captures.

Component indices of the WTO's Index show that export orders remain above trend but have levelled off. Air freight data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) are up more sharply while container throughput of major seaports registered a more modest improvement. The index of automobile sales has stabilized while those for electronics and agricultural raw materials are gaining momentum.

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