Monday, September 17, 2012
Above is the latest data on global trade: the monthly data come from the WTO and I seasonally adjust them myself. The last data point above is August, but it is very preliminary with only eight of about seventy countries reporting, representing a fifth of global trade. Still, since the imports and exports of those eight countries represent essentially independent samples, it's likely that at least the direction in August is robust. August thus seems to represent some degree of offset for the sharp fall in June.
This doesn't change the big picture though - after the 2008 financial crisis, global trade collapsed and then recovered strongly till early 2011. For the last eighteen months, however, it's been basically stagnant. This likely reflects a combination of a sluggish US recovery, a double-dip recession in Europe, and the slowdown in China.
The global economy continues to act like an engine firing on only three cylinders.