DHL Global Trade Barometer

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The art of global trade monitoring and forecasting is being revolutionised by the DHL Global Trade Barometer, making it easier than ever before to embed speculative processes into your e-commerce business.

DHL's Global Trade Barometer analyses volume trends within 10 industry sectors – identifying outperforming and declining sectors in global trade so your business can benefit. 

The DHL Global Trade Barometer is a unique early indicator of the current and future state of global trade, providing deep insights into the macroeconomic factors that affect it. By analysing the global supply chain through large amounts of logistics data, trends within industry sectors can be identified and insights then provided into those that are on the rise or fall. It is an essential tool for businesses dealing in international trade, with index values above 50 indicating positive development, while anything below that signals a decline in world trade.

According to the latest three-month forecast, The DHL Global Trade Barometer predicts protracted slowdown in global trade, sliding -2 points to 45 since the latest update in September. Global air trade is predicted to moderately contract over the next three months, with the overall growth index dropping -3 points to 42, while Global ocean trade is predicted to mildly decline, dropping -2 points to 46. 

GTB index features:

  • Import and export data from seven countries
  • Representing 75% of all global trade
  • Spans 10 industries from Chemicals to Vehicles
  • 240 Million data points Evaluated
  • Three-month outlook for global trade
  • Updated quarterly
Global Trade Barometer key statistics graph

Our prediction back in September that a recession could be on the horizon appears to have weight behind it now, with only India expected to grow moderately at 54 points (+5 points) out of all surveyed countries. Out of seven surveyed countries, six record mildly negative trade outlooks: Germany and China both fall by -3 points to an index of 45 and 42, respectively. For Germany, this development is mainly triggered by a weakening air trade outlook, which significantly drops by -7 points to 45. The slowdown in Chinese trade is caused by both, sluggish air and ocean trade, leaving China with the weakest growth outlook of all surveyed countries. Needless to say, that this downturn can be attributed to the ongoing trade war between China and the US. US trade is also expected to contract further, albeit an almost unchanged overall trade outlook of 44 index points (-1 points compared to the previous update). The overall outlook for South Korea decreases by -2 points to a new index value of 43.

“The world economy is entering a phase of stagnation, reflecting weak and slowing growth in some major economies and essentially no growth or mild contraction in others. Persistent trade tensions, elevated political instability and geopolitical risks, and concerns about the limited efficacy of monetary stimulus continue to erode business and consumer sentiment, with detrimental effects on investment and productivity growth. Growth in household consumption, which has underpinned recent economic performance, has stayed strong but is weakening in major advanced and emerging market economies,” comments Eswar S. Prasad, Professor of Trade Policy and Economics at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, USA. “The latest DHL Global Trade Barometer update shows that international trade flows have been adversely impacted by these factors. The declining indexes for China and the U.S., the two main drivers of global growth, portend a worsening global economic outlook. Overall, this GTB update paints a sobering picture of gloomy prospects for the world economy and global trade for the remainder of this year.”

Tim Scharwath, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding, Freight, commented that “according to the DHL Global Trade Barometer the year will probably end with moderate world trade. However, we’ve to bear in mind where we come from: The rapid growth world trade has undergone in recent years was like climbing the Mount Everest. Now, we are on the descent, but we are still breathing altitude air.”

If you're a DHL Express customer, the insights from the DHL Global Trade Barometer will help you optimise your business processes - and if you're not yet a customer, then apply for an account today!