It’s always important to look at the big picture. I do so focusing on the various data series for world trade. The latest data show that the global boom has turned into a soft patch. Evidence of an imminent double dip in the world economy is scarce and flimsy. Let’s have a closer look at the big picture, which we update regularly in our World Trade chart book.
(1) The volume of world trade has stalled. The Netherlands Bureau of Economic Policy compiles a monthly index on the volume of world trade. It rebounded smartly from the recession of late 2008 and early 2009 to a new high in March of this year. Since then, it’s been stuck between 165 and 170. It is highly correlated with the OECD’s index of global production (i.e., for the 30 OECD countries plus the six largest emerging ones). The production index has also stalled this year, but managed to edge up to a new record high during July. (See Figure 6.)