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World trade reaches a new record high

World trade experienced a slight upswing in recent months and reached a new high in November, according to data from logistics giant Kuehne + Nagel. So far this year, international merchandise trade has risen by 10.6%. Emerging markets and North America are the main growth drivers. Kuehne + Nagel is bullish on prospects for December too.

The data comes from the gKNi World Trade Indicator. Processing over 200m data sets every day, global Kuehne + Nagel indicators (gKNi) combine proprietary Kuehne + Nagel anonymised, aggregated shipment data across different transport modes with external sources, such as throughput of ports, daily customs data, as well as detailed vessel and aircraft movements in real time.

The indicator stood at 143.7 at the end of November, up 0.3% on the previous month and 6.4% from last year.

The main driver for the new high has been strong domestic demand in the United States and also in China. For China, Kuehne + Nagel expects import growth of 21.2% year-on-year in the second half of the year versus the first half figure of 20.2% in US dollars. Export estimates are at 10.6%, down from the 14.3% registered in the first half.

Imports also overtook exports in the United States at an annual rate of 9.1% and 7.1% respectively – first half: 8.1% versus 8.6%. The analyses show a particularly robust demand for consumer goods. In November, imports of furniture were over 10% higher than in the previous year. Vehicles imports were higher as were electronic products and capital goods.

“[T]he figures point to an extraordinarily dynamic fourth quarter,” the company stated in a release today.

In ocean freight, measured by the live throughput of ports, the unit volume declined slightly in November (-0.3% month-on-month), after a 1% jump in October. Sea freight has still risen by 2.9% since the beginning of the year.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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