Global trade: Overall flat trend – Emerging markets outpace developed economies

June 4, 2018

After the strong run since spring 2017, growth in global economy is flattening out. However, there are significant differences between countries, regions and groups: Emerging markets – particularly in Asia – are enjoying increasing trade activities.

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World Trade Indicator at the end of May 2018, seasonally and working-day adjusted (SA), in USD: 141.4 points, Jan 2010 = 100 points. Export and import data from World Trade Organization (WTO) at the end of March 2018 (NSA), in USD: 152.7 (+9.2% YoY); Jan 2010 = 100 points.

The gKNi World Trade Indicator powered by LogIndex — the data company of Kuehne + Nagel Group — stood at 141.4 (11.9% YoY) at the end of May. Seasonally adjusted and measured in USD terms, the indicator is currently down -0.1% month-on-month, but up +0.4% regarding April’s first estimate. Moreover, world trade is still growing in terms of local currencies and should continue to expand in June based on LogIndex country forecasts.

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Month-over-Month changes of gKNi World Trade Indicator (seasonally and working-day adjusted, SA) and monthly merchandise values according to the World Trade Organization (WTO), not seasonally or working-day adjusted, NSA, exports are valued FOB and imports CIF.

China leads the way

The differences between countries and regions are big: Emerging markets accelerated the speed in May to 16.7% YoY from 10.8% in April, driven by Asian countries. Trade growth in advanced economies slowed to 5.4% from a year earlier, compared with 7.2% in April. Six economies signal a positive momentum (direction of YoY-change in May compared to the previous month), while eleven countries in the sample are trending downward. China, India, South Korea and Brazil expanded their foreign trade activities by 13.6 to 22.8 percent.

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Foreign Trade in May 2018 by Region and Group (YoY): working-day adjusted and various currencies.

Europe decelerates

With an annual rate of 3.5%, Europe is the weakest region. France shows even a negative year-over-year change, while the annual rate is still positive for Germany, at least after working-day adjustment. North America is growing decently at 9.2% in May, compared to 10% in April.

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Heat map with the latest trends, derived from LogIndex forecasts and official data of exports and imports, in USD, EUR, JPY, GBP, AUD, CAD, AND SEK (in USD: USA, Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe, Baltic, Balkan, India, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, a.o.).

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Six economies signal a positive momentum (direction of YoY-change in May compared to the previous month), while eleven countries in the sample are trending downward.

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Reference month is March 2018. — * Unadjusted aggregate of countries and economies for which the Secretariat of the World Trade Organization (WTO) compiles monthly merchandise trade values (in USD). The totals cover over 90 per cent of world trade. Trade of fuel and commodity exporters in Africa and the Middle East is not included, due to the lack of data.