'Mixed picture' on global trade as supply chain bottlenecks and congestion continue

Industry News | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Data from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy shows growth in global trade in August, despite ongoing challenges including supply chain congestion.

The latest data from countries and regions across the globe paints a "mixed picture" for the world economy in August, with trade volumes up despite supply chain challenges such as congestion in container shipping routes.

That's according to the latest Kiel Trade Indicator, which estimated a 1.2 percent increase in global trade in August, compared to the previous month.

Imports into the US increased by 1.8 percent, while exports were up by 0.3 percent month-on-month. Not all countries witnessed growth, however, with the data showing that exports declined by 4.6 percent in China and 0.7 percent in Germany.

The EU's incoming and outgoing trade volumes were largely flat, according to the report produced by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

Vincent Stamer, head of the Kiel Trade Indicator, pointed out that high levels of inflation - as are currently being seen in many world economies - often feed into export figures, as increasing prices drive up the nominal trade values reported in official data.

However, price-adjusted exports from major industrialized countries remain below the levels seen before the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Supply bottlenecks are likely responsible in part for this development," Mr Stamer said. "Rising energy prices will put further pressure on the competitiveness of European companies in the short and medium term."

Looking in more detail at current challenges in global trade, the report noted that congestion in container shipping is "becoming entrenched". The problem is particularly acute in the North Sea, where more than two percent of global freight capacity is reportedly at a standstill.

Queues have also been lengthening in shipping lanes leading to the US states of South Carolina and Georgia, which is home to the key container port of Savannah.