It’s clear that the US economy is slowing sharply from last year’s 3% growth rate and that the major exporting economies are at or close to recession. But, until we know the outcome of ongoing US-China trade talks, we don’t know whether the slowdown will turn into a global contraction this year or next. That’s the difference between having one nostril underwater or two.

Just-released data on world trade volume through January show a contraction, but the contraction isn’t much worse than that of late 2015-early 2016 – yet.

Read more: How bad is it?

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