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Goods Trade Barometer - UPSC Current Affairs

The Goods Trade Barometer is published by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Goods Trade Barometer is a valuable tool for tracking the trajectory of merchandise trade and predicting future trends. Learn more about its significance in the world of international trade.

Apr 02, 2023

4 min read

As the global economy continues to expand, it becomes increasingly important to track the trajectory of merchandise trade and predict future trends. This is where the Goods Trade Barometer comes into play. It is a composite leading indicator for world trade that provides real-time information on the trajectory of merchandise trade relative to recent trends.

 

The Goods Trade Barometer is a crucial tool for economists, policymakers, and businesses alike, as it can help them make informed decisions about trade policy and investment strategies. When barometer values are greater than 100, it signals above-trend trade volume, while values less than 100 suggest that goods trade has either fallen below trend or will do so in the near future.

 

In the third quarter of 2022, the volume of world merchandise trade was up 5.6% compared to the same quarter in the previous year, with cumulative year-on-year growth for the first three quarters of 2022 standing at 4.4%. This is above the WTO's forecast released last October of 3.5% for the whole year. However, preliminary data suggest that the merchandise trade index will follow the barometer index down once quarterly trade volume statistics for the fourth quarter are released.

 

The Goods Trade Barometer consists of various component indices, including the automotive products index, export orders index, container shipping index, air freight index, electronic components index, and raw materials index. While the automotive products index remains above trend, other indices have fallen below trend and continue to decline, suggesting that the weakness in trade is broad-based, impacting many sectors.

 

Despite the decline in certain indices, there are signs of hope for a possible upturn in the near future. The export orders index, for example, is rising, and container throughput of Chinese ports and new export orders from Purchasing Managers' Indices (PMIs) have already started to pick up.

 

In conclusion, the Goods Trade Barometer is a valuable tool for tracking the trajectory of merchandise trade and predicting future trends. While current trends suggest a decline in certain sectors, there are signs of hope for a potential upturn in the near future. It is important for economists, policymakers, and businesses to stay informed about the Goods Trade Barometer and its impact on the global economy.

 

UPSC Main Exam Question:

 

What is the Goods Trade Barometer? How does it provide real-time information on world trade? Discuss the significance of the Barometer values and the indices it tracks.

 

Answer: The Goods Trade Barometer is a composite leading indicator for world trade that provides real-time information on the trajectory of merchandise trade relative to recent trends. It is published by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and is an important tool for policymakers and economists to monitor the global trade situation.

 

The Barometer values greater than 100 signal above-trend trade volume, indicating that global trade is growing faster than the recent trend. On the other hand, values less than 100 suggest that goods trade has either fallen below trend or will do so in the near future. The Barometer index finished below the merchandise trade volume index in the third quarter of 2022, standing at 99.2, indicating that global trade growth may slow down in the near future.

 

The Goods Trade Barometer tracks several component indices, including the automotive products index, the export orders index, container shipping index, air freight index, electronic components index, and raw materials index. The indices indicate the health of various sectors of the global economy, and the overall direction of global trade.

 

The automotive products index was buoyed by above-trend sales and production figures for the United States, Europe, and Japan, outweighing declines in China. The export orders index remained below trend but is rising, hinting at a possible upturn in the near future. However, indices for container shipping, air freight, electronic components, and raw materials are all below trend and declining, suggesting that the weakness in trade is broad-based, impacting many sectors.

 

In conclusion, the Goods Trade Barometer is an essential tool for policymakers and economists to track the global trade situation. The Barometer values and indices it tracks provide real-time information on the health of the global economy, and the overall direction of global trade. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the associated organization that publishes the Goods Trade Barometer.

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