Trade growth indicator remains at nine-year low, WTO says

The World Trade Organisation’s quarterly indicator showed that global trade growth is likely to remain weak in the first half of 2019 as a myriad of macroeconomic headwinds increase economic uncertainty.

The latest World Trade Organisation (WTO) outlook indicator showed that trade growth is likely to remain weak into the second quarter of 2019.

The new WTOI reading is 96.3, exactly as it was in the previous release in February this year, maintaining the weakest level since 2010.

Trade growth may weaken further as US-China trade negotiations turn sour

In their April trade forecast, WTO economists estimated that merchandise trade volume growth would fall to 2.6% in 2019, down from 3.0% in 2018, before rebounding to 3.0% in 2020.

Any rebound in 2020 would depend on reduced trade tensions and/or improved macroeconomic performance.

‘The outlook for trade could worsen further if heightened trade tensions are not resolved or if macroeconomic policy fails to adjust to changing circumstances,’ the WTO said.

Macroeconomic headwinds threaten global trade growth

The UK is no closer to breaking the Brexit deadlock and finding a resolution on its future relationship with the EU and the US President Donald Trump continues to threaten to impose more tariffs on Chinese goods.

For global trade growth to pick up in the second half of the year, businesses and investors will be hoping that US and Chinese officials will find a way to deescalate tensions and the UK can finally provide clarity on how it plans to leave the EU.


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