The world market bounced back strongly in May. Volume increased by 2.5% compared with April, when a decrease of 0.8% was recorded. These figures come from the World Trade Monitor presented by the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis on 23 July. This monitor provides the first data available on global trade. The figures for May suggest that the global economy is not stagnating as fast as some policy-makers and many analysts fear.
However, the CPB does not want to attach any conclusions to its report, because the figures do not demonstrate any clear trend, dropping one month and increasing again the next. That is why the ‘trade momentum’ is preferred, based on the three-monthly moving average. This figure came out at plus 0.6% for May, less than half of the long-term average.
Import and export
The report shows that the import and export volumes of the emerging countries especially showed a clear improvement, after contracting in April. The countries in the Far East posted by far the biggest profit. The trade volumes of the developed countries recovered much less strongly. Import increased strongly in Japan, but export dropped. The euro zone had negative growth again.
The developments on the world trade market are crucial to the Dutch economy. As the domestic economy is experiencing stagnation, exports must shore up the economy. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently emphasised the fact that the export machine is not running smoothly. The Netherlands benefits mainly from the transhipment of cargo from China and other emerging countries via the port of Rotterdam. On 22 August, the Port of Rotterdam Authority will present the throughput figures for the first six months of 2012.