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DHL Global Trade Barometer


The DHL Global Trade Barometer is a new and unique early indicator for the current state and future development of global trade. It is based on large amounts of logistics data that are evaluated with the help of artificial intelligence. Since global trade fuels the world economy, the DHL Global Trade Barometer not only provides an outlook on future trade, but also on the prospects for the global economy.


2020/03/25: Q2 Update postponed

The GTB stands for accuracy, reliability and credibility. However, the data model is unable to assess the impact of such disruptive events as Covid-19. As this would present an inaccurate picture, we have taken the decision to postpone the release of the GTB update for the second quarter of 2020. The next update of our index will be published after we have carefully analyzed the recent market data.


2019/12/20: Update

The DHL Global Trade Barometer continues to predict a slight decline in global trade, remaining at the same mildly negative outlook of 45 points compared to the latest update in November.

2019/11/28: Global trade continues at moderate pace

The DHL Global Trade Barometer (GTB) indicates a further contraction in world trade for the next three months. The overall trade outlook is reduced by -2 points, to a new index value of 45. That means that global trade continues to lose momentum, albeit mildly. Against the previous updates, the downward tendency is largely moderate and steady, neither indicating an acceleration of the decline nor a bottoming out. Except India, all surveyed countries are affected by the deceleration and record indexes below the 50-points-threshold of no growth. The overall decline was driven by minor decreases in both, air and containerized ocean trade. Air trade declined by -3 to 42 points, and containerized ocean trade by -2 to 46 index points. 

DHL Global Trade Barometer

To make the DHL Global Trade Barometer and its data more accessible a new digital platform has been created.


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How it works

  • The DHL Global Trade Barometer is based on import and export data for a number of intermediate and early-cycle commodities that serve as the basis for further industrial production, e.g. brand labels for clothes, bumpers for cars or touch screens for mobile devices. Sources for the index are aggregated market data from air and containerized ocean freight in seven countries, which account for more than 75 percent of world trade. Using artificial intelligence and various statistical methods this data is compressed to a single index value, which is published on a global level and individually for the seven countries evaluated.

    The DHL Global Trade Barometer index represents the weighted average of the current growth and the upcoming two months of global trade. An index value above 50 indicates a positive development; values below 50 point to a decline in world trade. Tests with historical data have revealed a high correlation between the DHL Global Trade Barometer and real containerized trade, providing a three-month forward-looking estimate.

  • In addition to the findings on world trade in general, the DHL Global Trade Barometer provides deep insights into specific issues, e.g. the main macroeconomic factors that are affecting trade trends or the countries and regions that are driving global trade. By breaking down the global supply chain, volume trends within industry sectors could be identified, pointing to outperforming and declining sectors. 

  • The insights from the DHL Global Trade Barometer will help DHL customers to optimize their business processes, for example providing guidance for investment and supply chain decisions. Moreover, DHL itself will leverage the indicator to fine-tune its own resource planning for its international logistics operations. Due to the high quality of the data, the company believes that the DHL Global Trade Barometer has a high significance also beyond logistics. Since it is an indicator for future trade and economic growth worldwide, the index could be integrated into forecast models by banks, associations or economic research institutes.

Facts & Figures

Import and Export Data from 7 Countries

Representing 75 % of Global Trade

10 Industries from Chemicals to Vehicles

240 Million Variables Evaluated

3-month Outlook for Global Trade

Updated 4 Times a Year