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  January 22nd, 2018 | Written by

DHL Global Trade Barometer Projects Stable Trade Growth for the US

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  • GTB predicts positive trade growth in the US, with an unchanged index value of 64 points compared to December.
  • Growth in US air trade continues to slow.
  • Index for growth in US ocean trade improved for January over December.

DHL’s new Global Trade Barometer provides a solid prediction of ongoing positive trade growth for the United States. The US is currently one of the most stable constituents of the index—which examines trade trends in seven countries—with no change in overall trade expectations compared to December.

However, this is due to opposing—and thus mutually offsetting—dynamics in air and ocean freight. Basic and industrial raw materials were especially important drivers for US trade growth.

DHL introduced the new early indicator for the current state and future development of global trade last week.

Air trade growth is expected to remain positive (65), although the index dropped by -4 points compared to December. High tech air trade is driving this change, as the outlook is less positive compared to the last update in December. Air export of industrial raw materials and air imports of machinery parts together remain important drivers for the positive US air trade outlook.

Ocean trade growth is expected to get a positive boost (64) as the index increased by +4 points compared to December. The outlook for ocean import growth is positive across all major USA import industries. Overall, basic raw materials are expected to be the main driver of ocean growth, specifically for exports. Machinery parts and personal household goods also registered robust growth in the index, while temperature or climate control products, with a score of 43, the same as in December, was the only product category showing decline.

The DHL Global Trade Barometer is based on large amounts of logistics data that are evaluated with the help of artificial intelligence. The indicator was developed in cooperation between DHL and Accenture and will be published quarterly.

The data is collected from international customs authorities by Seabury Consulting, which was recently acquired by Accenture. Accenture will provide data modeling and predictive analytics to forecast future trade trends for DHL.

The barometer is based on import and export data for a number of intermediate and early-cycle commodities that serve as the basis for further industrial production. Sources for the index are aggregated market data from air and containerized ocean freight in seven countries—the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, China, Germany, and India—which account for more than 75 percent of world trade. Using artificial intelligence and various statistical methods this data is compressed to a single index value, which is published on a global level and individually for the seven countries evaluated.

The DHL Global Trade Barometer index represents the weighted average of the current growth and the upcoming two months of global trade. An index value above 50 indicates a positive development; values below 50 point to a decline in world trade. Tests with historical data have revealed a high correlation between the DHL Global Trade Barometer and real containerized trade, providing a three-month forward-looking estimate.