The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Tuesday, in its World Trade Outlook Indicator (WTOI), suggested that global trade growth will continue to build moderately in the first quarter of 2017 after having strengthened in the final quarter of last year.
With a current reading of 102.0, the WTOI points to above-trend trade growth in February-March. The WTOI has risen further above trend since the last release three months ago, when the indicator stood at 100.9 in November 2016.
According to WTO statistics, trade-related indicators including air freight, automobile sales, export orders and container shipping have all registered solid gains in recent months, auguring for faster growth in merchandise trade volumes in the first few months of the year. However, electronics and agricultural raw materials trade are both slightly below trend.
The WTOI is a leading indicator of world trade, designed to provide "real time" information on the trajectory of merchandise trade three to four months ahead of trade volume statistics. It combines several trade-related indices into a single composite indicator to measure short-run performance against medium-run trends.
A reading of 100 indicates trade growth in line with trend, while readings greater or less than 100 suggest above or below trend growth.