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World trade volume may grow

Trade volume growth is expected to be above trend in the third quarter of 2017.

The latest reading of 102.6 is higher than the previous reading of 102.2 issued in May this year, suggesting sustained momentum for trade growth. Strong performances in air freight, export orders and container shipping are balanced by weaker results in other indices.

Strong growth in export orders, air freight and container shipping is leading the upward trend in the indicator as economic activity picks up around the world.

Results for agricultural raw materials and electronic components trade have been weaker, but both indices have turned up recently.

Meanwhile, weak growth in automobile production and sales is a cause for concern as it may signal weakening consumer confidence. Global export orders also show signs of plateauing, which could mean that upward momentum in trade growth may have peaked. If this is the case, trade growth would be expected to moderate later this year.

The unpredictable direction of the global economy in the near term, and the lack of clarity about government action on monetary, fiscal and trade policies raises the risk that trade activity will be stifled.

Growth in the volume of world merchandise trade is expected to rebound this year from its tepid performance in 2016, but only if the global economy recovers as expected and governments pursue the right policy mix.

 
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