"Container Throughput Index": Global trade continues to weaken

by David Fleschen

The "Container Throughput Index" of the RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) fell slightly in September 2018 from (revised) 133.3 to 133.2 compared to the previous month. According to the latest data, the index, which is a leading indicator of world trade, has fallen for the second month in a row. In the meantime, the index has already fallen below its 2-point high in January 2018. These are clear indicators that world trade is currently stagnating at best.

The index includes information on container handling at international ports, which is continuously collected by the ISL as part of its market monitoring. Since international trade is essentially handled by seagoing vessels, monitoring container data allows reliable forecasts about the next developments ofs world trade. With many ports reporting on their activities as early as two weeks after the end of a month, the RWI / ISL "Container Throughput Index" is a reliable early indicator of the development of international trade in processed goods, and hence world economic activity. The index includes container handling data for 88 international ports, which account for about 60 percent of global container throughput. The flash estimate for September is based on data from 37 ports, which account for well over 68% of the index shown in the index.

source: RWI Essen, photo: fotoalia

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