WTO Goods Trade Barometer indicates strong growth in first two quarters of 2021

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 28, 2021

Workers load sacks of rice grain onto trucks from a goods train in Chennai   -  PTI

Growth in trade fuelled by big gains in export orders, air freight, electronic components


Global trade in goods continued to recover in 2021, indicating strong growth in the first and second quarters of 2021, with big gains in export orders, air freight and electronic components, according to the latest WTO Goods Trade Barometer released on Friday.

“However, Covid-19 continues to pose the greatest threat to the outlook for trade, as new waves of infection could easily undermine the recovery,” said a release issued by the WTO on the findings of the Goods Barometer.

While quarterly trade volume statistics for the first and second quarters of 2021 have not been released yet, they are expected to show very strong year-on-year growth, partly due to the recent strengthening of trade and partly as a result of the trade collapse last year, according to the barometer.

Also read: Local lockdowns temper India’s economic activity in April

The Goods Barometer is a composite leading indicator for world trade, providing real-time information on the trajectory of merchandise trade relative to recent trends. The barometer’s current reading of 109.7 is nearly 10 points above the baseline value of 100 for the index and up 21.6 points year-on-year, reflecting both the strength of the current recovery and the depth of the Covid-19 shock last year, the release pointed out.

The WTO’s trade forecast in March this year predicted a 8 per cent pickup in the volume of world merchandise trade in 2021 following a 5.3 per cent decline the previous year. The relatively positive short-term outlook for trade is marred by regional disparities, continued weakness in services trade and lagging vaccination timetables, particularly in poor countries.

Global trade has been recovering since the second quarter of 2020, when there was a steep fall due to the Covid-19 related lockdowns in several countries.

Published on May 28, 2021

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