Global trade rebound stalls as war, Covid hit supply chains

The WTO said its latest barometer is broadly consistent with the trade body’s April forecast of a 3% increase in global merchandise volumes in 2022, down from the 4.7% growth predicted last October.
Image: Bloomberg

Russia’s war with Ukraine and China’s Covid-19 lockdowns have “short-circuited” global trade’s nascent rebound, the World Trade Organisation said.

The WTO’s goods trade barometer — the first to be released since Russia’s invasion began in late February — showed how the conflict “triggered sharp rises in food and energy prices” that have further disrupted the flow of international commerce.

The WTO’s periodic goods barometer edged up to 99 from the previous reading of 98.7 announced in February, according to a report published Monday. A level of 100 indicates growth over the next quarter that’s in line with medium-term trends, so the latest figures suggest “continued slow growth in merchandise trade.”

Container shipping statistics are below trend due to “persistent port backlogs,” the WTO report said. Meanwhile, export orders for cars, electronic components and air freight are above their baseline values.

The WTO said its latest barometer is broadly consistent with the trade body’s April forecast of a 3% increase in global merchandise volumes in 2022, down from the 4.7% growth predicted last October.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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