World Trade Outlook Indicator

WTOI points to sustained trade growth in first quarter of 2018
The World Trade Outlook Indicator (WTOI) is designed to provide «real time» information on the trajectory of world
trade relative to recent trends. The latest value of 102.3 is little changed from the previous reading of 102.2 in
November last year, indicating continued solid trade volume growth in the first quarter of 2018 following robust
expansion in 2017. The WTOI line in the chart below (blue) is slightly below the merchandise trade line (red), which
suggests that quarterly merchandise trade volume growth may moderate going forward while still remaining above
Component indices for container port throughput and air freight are firmly above trend, indicating strong current
trade growth. Meanwhile, the forward-looking export orders index has reached its highest level since 2011, pointing
to sustained recovery in trade flows in the first half of 2018. On the other hand, weaker results for automotive
products, electronics and agricultural raw materials could indicate weakening consumer confidence. These results are
somewhat stronger than the WTO’s most recent trade forecast issued on 21 September 2017, which predicted
merchandise trade volume growth of 3.6% for 2017 and 3.2% for 2018.
About the Indicator: Readings of 100 indicate growth in line with medium-term trends; readings greater than 100
suggest above trend growth, while those below 100 indicate the opposite. The direction of change reflects
momentum compared the previous month. The chart below compares historical values of the WTOI to actual
merchandise trade data. Trade volume growth tends to accelerate when the WTOI (blue line) is above the index for
merchandise trade (red line), and decelerate when the WTOI is below the trade index.

Fuente: WTO

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