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Kiel Trade Indicator 05/2021: Trade likely to stagnate across the board in May

20.05.2021

The months-long catch-up process in global trade is likely to be interrupted across a broad front in May for the first time in around a year. The Kiel Trade Indicator signals stagnation or a decline in imports and exports for Germany, the EU, the USA, China, and also global trade as a whole. It can therefore be assumed that shortages of certain goods will also continue for the time being.

For Germany, the Kiel Trade Indicator signals a slight decline in both exports (-1.7 percent) and imports (-0.5 percent) in May 2021 compared with the previous month (nominal, seasonally adjusted). Declining trade activity is also expected for the EU, with the index value for exports at -4.7 percent slightly deeper in the red than that for imports at -2.1 percent.

For the USA, the Kiel Trade Indicator also signals a negative sign for exports (-2.2 percent) and imports (-1.9 percent). The indicator values for China's exports (-1.0 percent) and imports (+0.1 percent) are close to zero, so that stagnation can be assumed here.

For total world trade a slight decline of 1.4 percent is expected in May.

"The indicator values for the aforementioned countries all show only moderate swings in May, which are both within the normal range of fluctuation in trade and within the forecasting error. However, the indicators hint at a break in the upward trend in trade flows that has been ongoing for months. This could be due to the fact that demand for shipping containers currently exceeds supply and is driving up transport prices. Shortages of certain products and raw materials could also contribute to the break in the trend," says Vincent Stamer, Head of Kiel Trade Indicator.

The next update of the Kiel Trade Indicator will take place on June 3 (without press release) and on June 22 (with press release).

For more information on the Kiel Trade Indicator and forecasts for all 75 countries, visit here.

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