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Web Exclusive | August 2016

WTO’s real-time indicator of trade

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has launched a new , World Trade Outlook Indicator (WTOI) designed to provide ‘real-time’ information on trends in global trade. The WTOI was unveiled in Shanghai, China recently, ahead of a meeting of G20 trade ministers.

Combining a variety of trade-related indices, WTOI is designed to give an early signal of the current direction of world trade and where it is likely to go in the near future. In this way the WTOI should signal turning points in world merchandise trade volume. It complements existing tools such as the WTO’s longer-term trade forecasts, and other statistical releases.

WTOI gives a headline figure to show performance against trend. A reading of 100 would indicate trade growth in line with recent trends, a reading greater than 100 would suggest above trend growth, while a reading below 100 indicates below trend growth. WTOI will be updated on a quarterly basis.

For the current period, WTOI came in slightly below trend, with a reading of 99.0, and with a downward tendency in the most recent data, signalling that trade growth will continue to be sluggish in July and August.

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