Economic Indicators

WTO sees weak early 2024 trade pick-up, with geopolitical risks

FILE PHOTO: A logo is seen at the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters before a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, October 5, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

GENEVA (Reuters) – Global goods trade should continue to recover gradually in the first months of 2024, but could easily be derailed by regional conflicts and geopolitical tensions, the World Trade Organization said on Friday.

The WTO said its goods trade barometer stood at 100.6 points, close to the baseline of 100 and barely changed from the level reported in November.

The Geneva-based trade body said the reading continued to signal weak upward momentum after merchandise trade declined by 0.4% in the third quarter of 2023 from the second and by 2.5% year-on-year.

The WTO said the barometer’s component indices were mostly neutral, but automotive production and sales were above trend and electronic components trade below.

The goods trade barometer is a composite of data and is designed to anticipate turning points and gauge momentum in global trade growth rather than to provide a specific short-term forecast.

The WTO has already said that its estimate of goods trade growth in 2023 of 0.8% will need to be revised down.

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