Global Trade Growth Continues To Slow In Three Months Through January

The figures are short-term and tentative but the trend isn’t good.

Global trade volume fell 1.8% in the three months through January from the previous three months, according to the World Trade Monitor from the statistics office of the Netherlands. That’s the biggest drop since May 2009 and the global financial crisis.

To compile the report Dutch statisticians have had to make some assumptions about import/export volume for the United States since the government shutdown here means the agency there doesn’t have up to date numbers. The Dutch have assumed zero percent growth for U.S. imports and export volume. On a month to month basis trade volumes climbed 2.1% from December. But trade volumes showed big declines in November and December.

The trend echoes that in the global growth tracker from Bloomberg Economics. That index puts world growth at 2.1% on a quarter to quarter annualized basis. That would be a significant drop from the 4% growth in the middle of 2018.