Executive Briefings

Global Freight Data Show Trade Is Slowing Down

The latest update of global freight data collected by the International Transport Forum at the OECD shows global trade volumes are slowing down.

Specifically,

"¢ USA and EU27 external trade, measured in tonnes of goods moved, remain stagnant and indicate further decline since the previous quarter;

 EU27 imports by air fell below pre-crisis levels for the first time since Q1/2010, suggesting weakening domestic demand;

 Trade by value shows a more mixed picture;

 China's external trade, by value, remains flat;

 Road and rail freight decline in the EU area, further indicating weak domestic performance.

The overall picture for global freight movement shows no improvement since the previous brief from the forum. Total external trade by sea (in tonnes) has remained stagnant below pre-crisis levels in EU27 and the United States (-2 percent and -10 percent), according to the forum's seasonally adjusted preliminary estimates of goods carried until August 2012.

Exports and imports by sea display different patterns. Total exports remain above pre-crisis levels (USA 8 percent; EU27 23 percent) although exports to Asia show signs of slowing down. Total imports have stagnated below pre-crisis levels.

Airfreight tonnes, considered a lead indicator, show further decline since the previous quarter. USA total external trade by air fell to below pre-crisis levels, with exports at 4 percent above and imports at 5 percent below the pre-crisis peak. EU27 exports fell to 6 percent below the pre-crisis peak, while imports fell below the pre-crisis level for the first time since the recovery in Q1/10. This reflects the on-going economic hardship faced by many European economies and overall weakening conditions globally. However, considering values instead of freight tonnes transported produces a more mitigated picture.

China continues to show resilience with external trade by sea and air (measured in values) reaching 38 percent and 34 percent above the pre-crisis peak, although growth leveled off over the last year. Overall external trade for both modes showed spectacular recovery through August 2011, with import growth outpacing export growth considerably. This reflects rising domestic consumption and the gloomy global economic situation reducing external demand for Chinese goods.

Source: International Transport Forum

Specifically,

"¢ USA and EU27 external trade, measured in tonnes of goods moved, remain stagnant and indicate further decline since the previous quarter;

 EU27 imports by air fell below pre-crisis levels for the first time since Q1/2010, suggesting weakening domestic demand;

 Trade by value shows a more mixed picture;

 China's external trade, by value, remains flat;

 Road and rail freight decline in the EU area, further indicating weak domestic performance.

The overall picture for global freight movement shows no improvement since the previous brief from the forum. Total external trade by sea (in tonnes) has remained stagnant below pre-crisis levels in EU27 and the United States (-2 percent and -10 percent), according to the forum's seasonally adjusted preliminary estimates of goods carried until August 2012.

Exports and imports by sea display different patterns. Total exports remain above pre-crisis levels (USA 8 percent; EU27 23 percent) although exports to Asia show signs of slowing down. Total imports have stagnated below pre-crisis levels.

Airfreight tonnes, considered a lead indicator, show further decline since the previous quarter. USA total external trade by air fell to below pre-crisis levels, with exports at 4 percent above and imports at 5 percent below the pre-crisis peak. EU27 exports fell to 6 percent below the pre-crisis peak, while imports fell below the pre-crisis level for the first time since the recovery in Q1/10. This reflects the on-going economic hardship faced by many European economies and overall weakening conditions globally. However, considering values instead of freight tonnes transported produces a more mitigated picture.

China continues to show resilience with external trade by sea and air (measured in values) reaching 38 percent and 34 percent above the pre-crisis peak, although growth leveled off over the last year. Overall external trade for both modes showed spectacular recovery through August 2011, with import growth outpacing export growth considerably. This reflects rising domestic consumption and the gloomy global economic situation reducing external demand for Chinese goods.

Source: International Transport Forum