Global trade continues to grow

World trade expected to grow over the next three months, but at a slower pace. Global ocean trade showing flat development.

Global trade continues to grow, according to the latest three-months forecast by the DHL Global Trade Barometer (GTB). The index now stands at 63 points. This is a decline of four points on the previous quarter’s forecast, indicating an overall slightly slower pace of growth. In the GTB methodology, an index value above 50 indicates positive growth, while values below 50 indicate contraction.

Tim Scharwath, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding, Freight, said:  “Despite rising political tensions among global players over trade-related issues, the DHL Global Trade Barometer indicates solid positive growth for world trade in the coming three month.”

Mixed picture among seven countries

Lower growth rates of air trade drive the overall slight reduction. The respective index value declined by eight points to 62. In contrast, the growth rate for global ocean trade merely decreased by one point to 63 points. Regarding the GTB’s seven constituent countries, this quarter sees a mixed picture with a threefold differentiation. India is the only country with simultaneously increasing and very high prospects for growth. The UK has an unchanged outlook, while all other countries have slightly diminishing prospects.

India’s outlook improved by four points to 83, which is the highest index value of all index constituents.  A ten-point increase in India’s ocean trade growth drives the improvement.  The UK maintaining an unchanged and positive index value of 57 comes somewhat surprising.  This is given the tedious progress of Brexit negotiations and heightened speculations about a “hard Brexit”.

Despite intensifying global disputes, mainly between China and the US, these countries remain in growth mode, however, at a slower pace. US growth prospects slowed down by five points to 63. The Chinese outlook decreased by four points to 59. Most other constituent countries witnessed deaccelerating dynamics, too. South Korea – still one of the previous forecast’s strongest growth drivers – saw its outlook reduced by five points to 69. Likewise, Germany’s growth forecast was reduced by six points to 58. The outlook for Japan went down by three points to 64.

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