WTO’s World Trade Outlook Indicator dropped to 96.3 in today’s update, down from 98.6, hitting the lowest level since March 2010 and stayed below baseline value of 100. The reading signals “below-trend trade expansion” into Q1. Weakness was driven by steep declines in export orders, international air freight, automobile production and sales, electronic components and agricultural raw materials.
WTO noted that “this sustained loss of momentum highlights the urgency of reducing trade tensions, which together with continued political risks and financial volatility could foreshadow a broader economic downturn.” And, trade growth is projected to slow to 3.7% in 2019 and could be revised lower if trade conditions continue to deteriorate. But “greater certainty and improvement in the policy environment could bring about a swift rebound in trade growth.”