WTO Barometer: Auto And Chip Supply Chain Issues Slow Global Trade Growth



Felix Thompson | Global Trade Review

Following a rapid recovery in global goods trade levels in the early months of the year, supply chain issues in critical sectors and gridlock in the shipping sector are dampening prospects for international commerce, newly released data from the World Trade Organization (WTO) show.

The WTO goods trade barometer, published on a quarterly basis by the intergovernmental organisation, signals changes in world trade growth two to three months ahead of official merchandise trade volume statistics.

In sharp contrast to August’s barometer, which marked the highest growth pace on record, the most recent read-out of 99.5 indicates growth is slightly below the baseline trend, which reflects what the WTO calls “a broad loss of momentum in global goods trade”.

The index’s current reading comes as little surprise, and is broadly consistent with a revised trade forecast published by the WTO in early October which foresaw global merchandise trade volume growth of 10.8% in 2021 – up from 8.0% forecasted in March – followed by a 4.7% rise in 2022. The forecast also predicted that the post-pandemic rebound in global merchandise trade levels would taper off in the second half of 2021.

The barometer is comprised of various individual indices that are combined to provide an overall score. The WTO notes that all of these fell in the latest period, although some sectors fared worse than others.

Felix Thompson is a Digital journalist at Global Trade Review (GTR) 

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