The Strategist

WTO global merchandise trade indicator hits all-time high

08/19/2021 - 12:39

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) reported that its merchandise trade figure has reached its highest level since the calculation began, indicating an economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As noted by the WTO, its indicator, the Commodity Trade Barometer, provides real-time information on the trajectory of merchandise trade relative to recent trends, outpacing traditional trade volume statistics.

It is noted that the rising value of the barometer reflects both the strength of the current trade expansion and the depth of the shock caused by the pandemic in 2020.

According to the WTO, all components of the barometer indices have been above trend over the past month, indicating a broad-based recovery. Thus, the air freight (114.0), container (110.8) and raw materials (104.7) indices, in particular, continued to rise, signalling faster-than-average growth in trade.

At the same time, it is stressed that the outlook for world trade remains clouded by negative risks, including regional disparities, persistent weakness in services trade and lagging vaccination timetables, particularly in poorer countries. COVID-19 continues to pose the greatest threat to trade prospects as new waves of infection could easily undermine recovery, the WTO added.