World Trade Volume Stalls

The Dutch CBP tallies world trade volumes. Here’s the total world trade series, compared to total industrial production (production weighted), since 2000.

Figure 1: World trade (blue), and world industrial production ex-construction (tan), both 2010=100, s.a., on log scale. NBER defined US peak-to-trough recession dates shaded gray. Orange dashed line at announcement Section 201, 301 actions. Source: CBP, August 25, 2023.

Here’s a detail of how trade has evolved over the past two and a half years.

Figure 2: World trade (blue), and world industrial production ex-construction (tan), both 2010=100, s.a., on log scale. Source: CBP, August 25, 2023.

Whether the slowdown in trade should be thought of as cyclical, or part of the one-off boom in goods consumption post-covid, is an open questions.

Note that these figures are in volume terms, while many figures are in nominal terms. These data through June were released two weeks ago, while we’re currently in September. In principle, we can nowcast September data using other indicators like PMI’s, port traffic, container throughput, and individual country data, etc., as discsussed in Chinn, Meunier, and Stumpner (2023) [blogpost, SUERF nehwsletter].

16 thoughts on “World Trade Volume Stalls

    1. Moses Herzog

      I’m guessing, although I feel someone will rise up here and tell me I’m being idiotic, that Mercury’s sexual preferences and the era he died during the AIDS epidemic, specifically in the early years of the AIDS epidemic when there were no pharmaceutical answers for the virus, makes the piano more “culturally significant”. But outside my inspiring ability at middle age to draw stick figures with a number 2 pencil, my art knowledge is rather limited.

    2. JohnH

      I doubt that Freddie Mercury’s piano will show up in the world trade volumes, but pgl must have thought so, since he put it in this thread!

      Thanks for this amazingly important piece of trivia, pgl!!!!

      1. Moses Herzog

        @ JohnH
        Not much of a Renaissance man are we?? (Neither am I come to think of it. Sssssshhhhh!!! It will forever be our secret)

        1. Baffling

          I doubted a putin supporter would find much relevance or value in a symbol from the lgbtq community. Well spoken comrade johnny.

          1. pgl

            Freddie may have been the greatest rock pianist ever. So what if he was gay. Talent folks talent. Of course JohnH would not know a piano if one fell on him.

        2. JohnH

          Moses–a modern Renaissance man would know who Freddie Mercury was? LOL!!!

          Or maybe Moses thinks Freddie Mercury was a Renaissance man! What a hoot!

          1. Moses Herzog

            Yes, I copied all of this below from Wiki. You’re welcome to disprove any portion of it here in Econbrowser’s comments. I ask you, as Mercury was not a native Briton or ethnic Anglo, does that strike you as a “not very diversified” personal education??

            “In 2005, Queen were awarded an Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Song Collection from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors. In 2002, Mercury was voted number 58 in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.

            Mercury spent most of his childhood in India where he began taking piano lessons at the age of seven while living with relatives.[13] In 1954, at the age of eight, Mercury was sent to study at St. Peter’s School, a British-style boarding school for boys, in Panchgani near Bombay.[14] Inheriting his father’s interest in philately, between 9 and 12 years old Mercury collected stamps, many of which were from the British Commonwealth.[15] One of the rare personal possessions of Mercury in museum ownership, his stamp album is displayed in the collection of the Postal Museum in London.[15] At the age of 12, he formed a school band, the Hectics, and covered rock and roll artists such as Cliff Richard and Little Richard.[16][17] One of Mercury’s former bandmates from the Hectics has said “the only music he listened to, and played, was Western pop music”.[18] A friend recalls that he had “an uncanny ability to listen to the radio and replay what he heard on piano”.[19] It was also at St. Peter’s where he began to call himself “Freddie”. In February 1963, he moved back to Zanzibar where he joined his parents at their flat.[20]

            In the spring of 1964, Mercury and his family fled to England from Zanzibar to escape the violence of the revolution against the Sultan of Zanzibar and his mainly Arab government,[21] in which thousands of ethnic Arabs and Indians were killed.[22] They moved to 19 Hamilton Close, Feltham, Middlesex, a town 13 miles (21 km) west of central London. The Bulsaras briefly relocated to 122 Hamilton Road, before settling into a small house at 22 Gladstone Avenue in late October.[23] After first studying art at Isleworth Polytechnic in West London, Mercury studied graphic art and design at Ealing Art College, graduating with a diploma in 1969.[2] He later used these skills to design heraldic arms for his band Queen.[24] ”

            It strikes me as a very diversified personal education. And I think many Renaissance men took an interest in ALL of the arts, which would most likely include, popular music, and new forms of music, which “rock” was at the time of Queen’s inception.

      2. Macroduck

        Poor Johnny…sooooo needy. How many times has poor Johnny gone off topic in order to serve Putin’s interests? But let pgl comment off topic, and Johnny gets his back up. Poor Johnny.

  1. Macroduck

    Anybody else click through to the CBP text? It’s trivial, but I think the English text might have been machine generated. It’s just non-idiomatic enough that a college-educated Nederlander (heck, a high-school-educated Nederlander) would probably sound more natural.

    Them prepositions is tricky.

  2. Baffling

    Exponential growth cannot continue forever. In principle, i find it not surprising that this data has shifts and resets periodically. Eyeballing, and with limited data, cannot tell how the slope behaves in the last leg. Or am I being misled by this semilog plot in figure 1?

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