WTO launches new global trade indicator

WTO launches new global trade indicator in run-up to G20 meeting

Beijing, July 9 (IANS) The World Trade Organisation has launched a new indicator designed to predict short-term trends in global trade ahead of a meeting of G20 trade ministers.

The new World Trade Outlook Indicator (WTOI) on Friday presented at a run-up event to the G20 summit to be held in China’s Hangzhou province in September, suggests a slight slowdown in world trade in the third quarter, EFE news reported.

The indicator with a reading of 100 would indicate trade growth in accordance with recent trends debuted with a reading of 99, indicating a slight weakening of trade.

“We live in a period of economic volatility and low growth. As the indicator shows there are no immediate signs of a significant change in the coming months,” WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said.

The WTO expects world trade to grow below three per cent for the fifth consecutive year.

Meanwhile, the indices for export orders (with 101.3 points) and agricultural raw materials (with 106.5 points) were expected to increase modestly in the next three months.

Among the sectors whose indices were expected to remain in line with recent trends were production and sales of automobiles (100 points) while international air freight and maritime container traffic were expected to remain weak (98 and 97.1 points respectively).

The new WTOI also suggested a slight reduction in merchandise trade volume (with 96.9 points) and electronic components (with 95 points).

“In serving as a quarterly signal of current and short-term trade conditions, the World Trade Outlook Indicator responds to strong interest from policymakers and the business community for more immediate, real time information on trade and trading conditions,” Azevedo added.

“The WTOI should provide an early signal if trade is likely to slow or accelerate in the near future. At present it suggests that trade growth will remain weak into the third quarter of 2016,” he concluded.

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