ChartBrief 80 – Global Trade Growth Trends

Since the global synchronized economic rebound that got underway in the middle of last year, one key standout and something I’ve been bullish on is the rebound in global trade growth.  Today I just wanted to highlight a couple of charts that put it into context.  As a reminder, I remain optimistic on the global economy on the basis of solid manufacturing activity, improving global trade growth, rising property prices in the major economies, and still supportive monetary policy.  Along with the fact that commodity prices have been stable and most financial assets have seen rising prices, confidence is generally much improved too, which paints a picture of at least ongoing growth and decent pace of growth too.

On the global trade front it’s mostly volumes I’m concerned with, and the charts below show how global container throughput volumes have moved back to trend after the 2015 slowdown. Similarly the CPB stats show emerging market import volumes breaking-out after spending years going sideways.  Protectionism concerns aside, what’s happening right now is that global trade activity is solid and that’s going to be something that will help underpin my relatively optimistic outlook on the global economy.

The RWI/ISL Global Container Throughput Index has recovered back to trend after going through a slowdown in 2015/16 and shows healthy global trade activity.

Global Trade

Emerging market import volumes have broken out (driven mostly by Emerging Asia, and LatAm).

Global Trade

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Article by Callum Thomas, Top Down Charts



About the Author

Top Down Charts
Topdown Charts: "chart driven macro insights" Based in Queenstown, New Zealand, Topdown Charts brings you independent research and analysis on global macro themes and trends. Topdown Charts covers multiple economies, markets, and asset classes with a distinct chart-driven focus. We are not bound by technical or fundamental dogma, and instead look to leverage any relevant factor to capture the theme. As such, here you will find some posts that are purely technical strategy, some that just cover economics and data, and some posts that use multiple inputs to tell the story and identify the opportunities. Callum Thomas Head of Research Callum is the founder of Topdown Charts. He previously worked in investment strategy and asset allocation at AMP Capital in the Multi-Asset division. Callum has a passion for global macro investing and has developed strong research and analytical expertise across economies and asset classes. Callum's approach is to utilise a blend of factors to inform the macro view.