Photo: Reuters / Lucy Nicholson
Photo: Reuters / Lucy Nicholson

World trade growth slowed during the first half of 2018, to year-on-year rate of 2.6% (for imports) vs 5% at the end of 2017, according to volume data calculated by the Netherlands Central Planning Bureau.

Emerging Asia remains the most robust sector of import growth by far, up 8% year on year, followed by the United States at +4%. Europe’s import growth was barely 2% and Japan’s close to zero.

A Bloomberg analysis this morning by David Fickling asserts that trade is decreasing on a quarter-on-quarter basis, placing the blame on escalating trade conflicts. This is true but misleading, given the obvious seasonal pattern in quarter-on-quarter trade growth, as shown in the chart below.