• 2024 April 11 16:45

    WTO forecasts rebound in global trade but warns of downside risks

    Global goods trade is expected to pick up gradually this year following a contraction in 2023 that was driven by the lingering effects of high energy prices and inflation, WTO economists said in a new forecast on 10 April. The volume of world merchandise trade should increase by 2.6% in 2024 and 3.3% in 2025 after falling 1.2% in 2023. However, regional conflicts, geopolitical tensions and economic policy uncertainty pose substantial downside risks to the forecast, according to WTO's release.

    In the latest “Global Trade Outlook and Statistics” report, WTO economists note that inflationary pressures are expected to abate this year, allowing real incomes to grow again — particularly in advanced economies — thus providing a boost to the consumption of manufactured goods. A recovery of demand for tradable goods in 2024 is already evident, with indices of new export orders pointing to improving conditions for trade at the start of the year.

    High energy prices and inflation continued to weigh heavily on demand for manufactured goods, resulting in a 1.2% decline in world merchandise trade volume for 2023. The decline was larger in value terms, with merchandise exports down 5% to US$ 24.01 trillion. Trade developments on the services side were more upbeat, with commercial services exports up 9% to US$ 7.54 trillion, partly offsetting the decline in goods trade.

    Import volumes were down in most regions but especially in Europe, where they fell sharply. The main exceptions were large fuel-exporting economies, whose imports were sustained by strong export revenues as energy prices remained high by historical standards. World trade remained well above its pre-pandemic level throughout 2023. By the fourth quarter it was nearly unchanged compared to the same period in the 2022 (+0.1%) and had only risen slightly compared to the same period in 2021 (+0.5%).

    The report further estimates global GDP growth at market exchange rates will remain mostly stable over the next two years at 2.6% in 2024 and 2.7% in 2025, after slowing to 2.7% in 2023 from 3.1% in 2022. The contrast between the steady growth of real GDP and the slowdown in real merchandise trade volume is linked to inflationary pressures, which had a downward effect on consumption of trade-intensive goods, particularly in Europe and North America.

    Moving forward, the report warns that geopolitical tensions and policy uncertainty could limit the extent of the trade rebound. Food and energy prices could again be subject to price spikes linked to geopolitical events. The report's special analytical section on the Red Sea crisis notes that while the economic impact of the Suez Canal disruptions stemming from the Middle East conflict has so far been relatively limited, some sectors, such as automotive products, fertilisers and retail, have already been affected by delays and freight costs hikes.

    The report furthermore presents new data indicating that geopolitical tensions have affected trade patterns marginally but have not triggered a sustained trend toward de-globalization. Bilateral trade between the United States and China, which reached a record high in 2022, grew 30% less in 2023 than did their trade with the rest of the world. Moreover, for the whole of 2023, global trade in non-fuel intermediate goods — which provides a useful gauge of the status of global value chains — was down 6%.

    Signs of fragmentation may also be emerging in services trade: US imports of information, computer, and telecommunications (ICT) services from North American trading partners (mostly Canada) increased from 15.7% of total ICT imports in 2018 to 23.0% in 2023 while US imports of the same from Asian trading partners (mostly India) fell from 45.1% to 32.6%. Fragmentation of data flow policies along geopolitical lines, moreover, could cause global trade of goods and services in real terms to fall by 1.8% and global GDP to decline by 1% according to estimates from a forthcoming study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the WTO.

    If current projections hold, Africa's exports will grow faster than those of any other region in 2024, up 5.3%; this however is from a low base, since the continent's exports remained depressed after the COVID-19 pandemic. The CIS region's expected growth is just slightly below 5.3%, also from a reduced base after the region's exports plunged following the war in Ukraine. North America (3.6%), the Middle East (3.5%) and Asia (3.4%) should all see moderate export growth, while South America is expected to grow more slowly, at 2.6%. European exports are once again expected to lag behind those of other regions, with growth of just 1.7%.

    Strong import volume growth of 5.6% in Asia and 4.4% in Africa should help prop up global demand for traded goods this year. However, all other regions are expected to see below average import growth, including South America (2.7%), the Middle East (1.2%), North America (1.0%), Europe (0.1%) and the CIS region (-3.8%).

    Merchandise exports of least-developed countries (LDCs) are forecasted to grow 2.7% in 2024, down from 4.1% in 2023, before growth accelerates to 4.2% in 2025. Meanwhile, imports by LDCs should grow 6.0% this year and 6.8% next year following a 3.5% contraction in 2023.

    World commercial services trade grew 9% in 2023 despite a decline in freight transport, thanks to recovering international travel and surging digitally delivered services. In 2024, sports events to be held in Europe in the summer, as well as the easing of visa requirements by various countries, are expected to boost tourism and passenger transport.

    Global exports of digitally delivered services soared to US$ 4.25 trillion in 2023, up 9.0% year-on-year, and accounted for 13.8% of world exports of goods and services. In 2023, the value of these services — traded over borders through computer networks and encompassing everything from professional and management services to streaming of music and videos, online gaming, and remote education — surpassed pre-pandemic levels by over 50%. In Europe and Asia, which hold a global market share of 52.4% and 23.8% respectively, exports rose by 11% and 9%. Growth accelerated in Africa (13%) and in South and Central America and the Caribbean (11%), exceeding the global average. 

    The two regions, which formed only 0.9% and 1.6% of global exports in 2023, are on the path to take advantage of digitally delivered services trade.

    The WTO has released a new dataset on trade in services by mode of supply as in the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). It provides valuable insights on how services trade has modified over the years, including the impact of digitalization and of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    This dataset as well as the latest estimates on digitally delivered services trade and service trade in general can be visualized and downloaded in the Global Services Trade Data Hub. The newly launched Global Services Trade Data Hub gives access to comprehensive WTO services trade data. It provides visualizations and customizable features catering to the diverse needs of trade negotiators, analysts, researchers, and decision-makers, to derive insights.




2024 May 18

15:24 SNAM's Q1 total revenues declined 1.9% to 895 million euros
14:17 KOTUG Int'l successfully pilots Tug Drone technology
12:04 Austal USA names Mark Santamaria as CFO
11:36 Silver Ships delivers four of seven coastal fast response boats
09:51 CMA CGM posts revenue of 11.8 billion for Q1 2024

2024 May 17

18:10 Bunker fuel sales at the Middle Eastern hub of Fujairah drop on a monthly basis in April 2024
17:52 Lloyd’s Register and Shandong Marine Group sign MoU
16:43 China reveals cooperation methods to protect and restore the Yangtze River
16:03 APM Terminals Barcelona holds the commissioning of 17 Konecranes NSC 644 EHY hybrid straddle carriers
15:13 Marine fuel demand in Panama declined in April 2024
14:43 MITSUI E&S and PACECO commence commercial operations of world's first hydrogen fuel cell zero emission RTG crane at Port of Los Angeles
14:23 ILWU Canada agrees to delay serving 72-hour strike notice on employer DP World Canada
13:31 Barge hits a bridge in Texas, damaging the structure and causing an oil spill
13:10 Container shipping costs on EU-S. Korea route surge over 30 pct amid Red Sea crisis
12:43 DP World invests €130m in Romania
12:21 Astrakhan hosts Russia-Iran talks on shipping cooperation on International North-South corridor
11:41 Seatrium awarded repeat FPSO integration contract from SBM Offshore
11:04 Bureau Veritas report highlights the potential of carbon capture technologies and the development of carbon value chains for shipping
10:41 Electramar christened in Helsinki
10:07 IMO Secretary-General spotlights seafarer safety amidst ongoing Red Sea attacks and resurging piracy
09:58 MABUX: Bunker Outlook, Week 20, 2024

2024 May 16

18:11 Kongsberg and Torghatten to develop self-driving ferry service linking Trondheim and the Fosen peninsula
17:42 “K” Line сonducts first trial use of B100 biofuel for carbon-free operations on car carrier
16:35 Deltamarin and ECOLOG unveil LP LCO2 carrier design
15:40 Seadrill enters agreement to sell its Qatar jack-up fleet
15:24 Scan Global Logistics and Hapag-Lloyd enter into major biofuel agreement in a new Green Collaboration
14:48 Edison Chouest feeder fleet for U.S. offshore wind market to be built to ABS Class
14:03 The Australian Government announces a funding package of $7.1 billion for budgeted programs to be administered by ARENA
13:54 The share of the idle container vessel fleet was 0.9% in April - Sea-Intelligence
13:25 The European Commission grants PCI status to CO2 value chain project developed by MOL with partners
12:14 HHLA's revenue decreased by 0.3 percent to € 363.6 millions in Q1 2024
11:42 MOL and TotalEnergies sign time charter contracts for 2 newbuilding LPG-fueled LPG carriers
10:40 Kalmar and Uniport Livorno agree on new terminal tractor order to enhance reliability, safety and service quality at Italian terminal
10:04 AMSA collaborates on a trial providing more recycling options for visiting foreign ships
09:59 SunGas Renewables and C2X announce strategic partnership

2024 May 15

18:07 MOL holds naming ceremony for newbuilding LNG carrier Greenergy Ocean to serve China National Offshore Oil Corporation
17:30 ClassNK and StormGeo mark significant collaboration to advance maritime decarbonization
17:02 Newly certified methanol valves to improve dual-fuel shipbuilding
16:45 HD KSOE to lease Subic shipyard in Philippines
16:25 Eidsvaag receives two forage carrier vessels designed and equipped by Kongsberg Maritime
15:58 ADNOC delivers first ever bulk shipment of CCS-enabled certified low-carbon ammonia to Japan
15:35 World's 1st wind challenger-equipped coal carrier achieves fuel savings of 17%
14:57 LR to support the retrofit of two Stena Line ferries to methanol
13:52 Port of Los Angeles nets record $58 million for harbor maintenance
13:32 CMA CGM to launch MCX - West Coast Central America
12:51 Port of Long Beach cargo volumes up 14.4% in April
12:21 First Ro-Pax vessel receives DNV Silent notation following successful sea trials with Wartsila propellers
11:41 Hapag-Lloyd transport volumes increased by 6.8 percent to 3 million TEU in Q1 2024
11:10 Cavotec signs two-year service agreement with Port of Salalah
10:41 China overtakes Korea in global shipbuilding competitiveness
09:58 The ports of Rotterdam and Delft join the CLARION project

2024 May 14

18:02 ICTSI to invest in new Southern Luzon gateway
17:31 ACL, BG Freight Line and Peel Ports Group start container service between Ireland and North America
17:10 Port of Hamburg is the first port in Europe to offer shore power for both container and cruise ships
16:31 Port of Gothenburg launches the platform "Digital Port Call"
16:18 NS United, NSY, Imabari Shipbuilding and Japan Marine United Corporation sign MOU for the construction of Cape-size bulk carriers using dual methanol fuel
15:56 Port of Antwerp-Bruges launches the world's first methanol-powered tugboat
15:29 The Ports of Barcelona and Shanghai will work together on innovation and decarbonisation projects
13:55 AD Ports Group announces Q1 results
12:58 NYK, NBP, TSUNEISHI SHIPBUILDING and Drax sign MOU to develop ‘bioship’ technology and plans to construct the world’s first biomass-fuelled ship
11:30 Maris Fiducia team up with HAV Hydrogen, Norwegian Hydrogen and Ankerbeer for zero emission bulk shipping
11:05 ABS and HD Hyundai Group sign MOU to advance medium-voltage power systems on ships
10:43 Finnlines’ new freight-passenger Superstar-class vessel Finnsirius awarded by Shippax
10:23 Kongsberg Maritime to design and equip two new salmon farm forage carrier vessels for Norwegian coastal cargo carrier Eidsvaag AS
09:48 Yara International and Kongsberg Digital enter collaboration on digital twin technology

2024 May 13

18:00 Capital dredging commences for Lowestoft Eastern Energy Facility
17:06 Berlin’s oldest passenger vessel enters a new green era powered by Torqeedo
16:22 Russia’s seaborne diesel trading partners shifted after Feb 2023 sanctions
16:18 Denis Manturov: Russian shipyards to deliver more than 110 civil ships this year
16:05 CMA CGM and China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology plan to set up joint venture