The WTO´s Goods Trade Barometer, a composite leading indicator for world trade, remains below a companion index representing actual merchandise trade volumes, suggesting that year-on-year trade growth may slow further but remain positive as official Q2 statistics become available, with trade simultaneously weighed down by the conflict in Ukraine and buoyed by the lifting of Covid-19 lockdowns in China.
That volume of world merchandise trade plateaued with year-on-year growth slowing to 3.2% the first quarter of 2022, down from 5.7% in fourth quarter of 2021. The slowdown in Q1 only partly reflected the impact of the conflict in Ukraine, which broke out in late February. The latest barometer reading is consistent with the WTO’s most recent trade forecast from past April, which predicted 3.0% growth in the volume of world merchandise trade in 2022.
However, uncertainty surrounding the forecast has increased due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, rising inflationary pressures, and expected monetary policy tightening in advanced economies.