Growth in global merchandise trade will continue to flourish throughout the third quarter of 2017, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Its latest World Trade Outlook Indicator (WTOI) reported a reading of 102.6, a respectable improvement on the 102.2 reading issued in May, which suggests sustained momentum for trade growth.
Contributing factors in this growth are believed to be strong performances in air freight, export orders and container shipping. These were balanced by weak growth in sales and production of automobiles, a symptom of dampened consumer confidence.
The WTOI noted that the strongest drivers of trade between April and June were international air freight and container port throughput, which reported index levels of 107.9 and 104.2 respectively.
Electronic components, merchandise trade volume and agricultural raw materials sat in the middle, with index levels of 100.4, 99.9 and 98.8.
Readings of 100 indicate growth in line with medium-term trends; readings greater than 100 suggest above-trend growth, while those below 100 indicate the reverse. The direction of change reflects momentum compared with the previous month.
The only below-trend area was in the production and sale of automobiles, with a 95.3 index level.
A statement from the WTO revealed that these results were slightly stronger than their most recent trade forecast from mid-April, which anticipated moderate trade growth this year after weak expansion last year.
The WTOI is not intended as a short-term forecast, instead providing an indication of trade growth in the near future. Its main purpose is to identify turning points and gauge momentum in global trade growth. As a result, the indicator complements trade statistics and forecasts from the WTO and other organizations.