Global goods trade is recovering from a recent slump amid stronger demand for autos and electronics, the World Trade Organization said in a report that warned geopolitical strains are making the short-term outlook “highly uncertain.”
The WTO’s periodic goods barometer rose to 100.7 from the previous reading of 99.1 announced in August, the Geneva-based organization said in a report Monday. The baseline of 100 indicates growth over the next quarter that’s in line with medium-term trends.
“Merchandise trade volume will gradually revert toward its medium-term trend in the second half of 2023, although uncertainty remains high due to mixed economic data and rising geopolitical tensions,” according to the report posted on the WTO’s website.
While electric vehicle sales may be buoying global commerce, a “weak result for raw materials may be partly due to weakening property markets as interest rates remain elevated,” the report said.
Last month the WTO cut its forecast for 2023 global merchandise trade to an increase of 0.8%, from an April prediction for a year-over-year gain of 1.7% and well below the 2.6% average over the past decade. For 2024, the WTO forecast goods trade will increase 3.3%.