How to position according to World Trade Outlook Indicators

Cheming Yang

WTO published “The World Trade Outlook Indicator” before G20 Trade Ministers Meeting in Shanghai. Shanghai was chosen as the venue certainly because of the fact that china is the hosting country of G20 this year. Nonetheless, this also signals the trend that the figures from China will most likely carry a lot of weight in predicting world trade outlook.
WTO has compiled 6 indicators in this endeavor as follows:
1. Export orders reported by central banks and national statistics agencies in leading manufacturing economies;
2. International freight ton kilometers reported by the International Air Transport Association (IATA);
3. Total container throughput from a dozen major shipping ports, in twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) units;
4. Automotive vehicle sales and/or production figures in major markets;
5. Customs data on electronic components trade, in physical units;
6. Customs data on trade flows for agricultural raw materials.

These indicators can also give us a peep into how the look of Chinese economy. According to the reports of Chinese General Administration of Customs, exports from China declined by 4.8 percent year-on-year in June of 2016. Exports in China averaged 566.55 USD HML from 1983 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 2,273.72 USD HML in December of 2014.

According to the reports of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, total vehicle sales in China jumped 8.4 percent year-on-year in June 2016. Total Vehicle Sales in China averaged 882,368.83 from 1997 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 2,785,513 in December of 2015.

Although the real time data we have are not comprehensive, we can clearly see mixed signals here. There are ups and downs. Chinese economy is more likely still in the processes of soft landing; as such, so is the world economy. We have seen quite a number of dramatic stock market fluctuations fueled by various kinds of quantitative easing around the world. However, judging from these outlook indicators, we are not out of the quagmire yet.


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