Global goods trade showed signs of a turnaround in the second quarter of 2023, driven by strong automobile production and sales, but further upward momentum in Q3 and beyond may be limited as long as export orders remain weak, according to the latest WTO Goods Trade Barometer issued on 24 August.
The current reading of 99.1 for the barometer index is up from the previous reading of 95.6 from last May and close to the baseline value of 100. This suggests that merchandise trade volume turned up in Q2 after two quarters of decline, but that it remains slightly below trend. Sustained recovery in Q3 and beyond is less than certain as long as the barometer's export orders component (based on purchasing managers' indices) remains weak.
The Goods Trade Barometer is a composite leading indicator for world trade, providing real-time information on the trajectory of merchandise trade relative to recent trends. Barometer values greater than 100 are associated with above-trend trade volumes while barometer values less than 100 suggest that goods trade has either fallen below trend or will do so in the near future.
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