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Global Merchandise Trade Volumes Continue To Dwindle

19 February 2020 – The global retail market is expected to remain weak in early 2020, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Goods Trade Barometer, which noted that global trade could suffer even further following the outbreak of the coronavirus.

In a statement on Monday, the intergovernmental organisation said the latest barometer results proved that world merchandise trade had declined by 0.2%, and was showing no indication of a sustained recovery with trade trends now reading well below the index’s baseline value of 100 (95.5).

Although official statistics to confirm this view will only become available in June, year-on-year growth is expected to trend down for the first quarter of 2020.

The drop in the barometer was mainly driven by additional declines in indices for container shipping (94.8) and agricultural raw materials (90.9), as well as the plateauing of the automotive products index (100.0).  

The Goods Trade Barometer provides information on the current trajectory of world merchandise trade relative to recent trends.

However, it did not account for the impact of the recent coronavirus outbreak during the latest index, which may hurt trade prospects further. (F&T Weekly)