Kiel Trade Indicator

The Kiel Trade Indicator estimates the trade flows (imports and exports) of 75 countries and regions worldwide, as well as world trade as a whole. The world map shows an expected increase (green) or decrease (red) for the individual countries. Clicking on a country opens a graph with more details. Estimated are the unilateral trade flows of a country with the rest of the world. The Kiel Trade Indicator is updated around the 5th and 20th of each month.

+++ Next data update: August 23, 2022 +++

Data update August 05, 2022

Global trade falls in July compared with the previous month (price and seasonally adjusted). Trade indicators for major economies and regions are also negative. This is according to the latest Kiel Trade Indicator data update. Trade volumes in recent months have been driven primarily by increased prices, while showing little momentum when adjusted for prices. There are currently 24 container ships waiting for clearance in the German Bight, the congestion is having a noticeable impact on trade with Asia. From Ukraine, 20 million tons of grain still have to be moved, equivalent to around 570 shiploads.

“The values are still within the normal fluctuation range and can be interpreted as a downward countermovement to some high increases in June. There is no threat of a crash in trade, but a trend reversal to the upside and a normalization of supply processes are not likely to occur any time soon either. Due to inflation, the gap between the official statistics without price adjustment and the Kiel Trade Indicator data with price adjustment is widening,“ says Vincent Stamer, head of the Kiel Trade Indicator. 

No containerized trade is still possible via the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odessa. ”The fact that the Razoni, the first cargo ship in a long time, has now left to transport grain from the overflowing storage facilities is very positive news. However, in order to transport the remaining 20 million tons in time, around 570 additional shiploads would have to be handled in Ukrainian ports in the short term, which seems unachievable not only in view of the war. As the grain harvest is now picking up again and is in urgent need of the warehouse capacities, other transport options such as trains and trucks must also be fully utilized to move grain,” says Stamer. 

Read more in our latest news: Kiel Trade Indicator 07/22: Trade recedes in July, grain volume from Ukraine difficult to ship

July 2022* 

      Export Import
Germany     - 3.2 % - 1.6 %
EU     - 2.1 % - 2.1 %
USA     - 2.2 % - 2.1 %
China     - 3.2 % - 4.1 %
Russia     - 1.2 % - 1.7 %
Global trade - 1.7 %      

*Change month-on-month, price and seasonally adjusted.

Ship Data

The graph shows what percentage of global container ship cargo capacity is tied up and unable to be loaded or unloaded due to congestion in sea areas up to 500 kilometers from major ports worldwide. Calculations are made using real-time vessel position data and takes into account the technically possible maximum capacity of the container ships. Regions include Georgia and South Carolina (ports of Savannah and Charleston), Southern California (ports of Los Angeles/ Long Beach and San Diego), Hong Kong and Guangdong (ports of HK, Yantian, Shenzhen and Guangzhou), Shanghai and Zhejiang (esp. Shanghai, Ningbo-Zhoushan), North Sea (North Sea ports of the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the UK).

The graph indicates the proportion of goods that are on waiting container ships. Calculations are made using real-time global vessel position data and include effective utilization of container ships from draught information.

The graph measures the summed capacity of container ships in the Red Sea and the Suez Canal on a daily basis. Due to the particular geographical location of the Red Sea, the shipping here reflects the trading activity between Europe and Asia. The expected value is calculated from the average of 2017 to 2019, scaled to 2020 and 2021 using past growth rates.

The graph shows the arriving container loads in comparison to the previous year at the three largest container ports of Russia (St. Petersburg at the Baltic Sea, Novorossiysk at the Black Sea, as well as Vladivostok at the Pacific) and the largest port of Ukraine, Odessa. The reductions of trade volumes are the result of the war in the Ukraine and sactions against Russia. The calculation employs container ship poitions data and takes the size and draught of the ship into consideration.

The graph measures the departing container load from the port of Shanghai and the remaining Chinese ports respectively, normalized to the beginning of the year. The overall trend of the Chinese ports serves as a benchmark for the port of Shanghai and illustrates the drop of departing goods due to the lockdown in Shanghai. The calculation employs container ship poitions data and takes the size and draught of the ship into consideration.

About the Kiel Trade Indicator

The Kiel Trade Indicator estimates trade flows (imports and exports) of 75 countries worldwide, the EU and world trade as a whole. Specifically, the estimates cover over 50 individual countries as well as regions such as the EU, sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, the Middle East or emerging Asia. It is based on the evaluation of ship movement data in real time. An algorithm programmed at the Kiel Institute uses artificial intelligence to analyze the data and translates the ship movements into nominal, seasonally adjusted growth figures compared with the previous month.

We update the data twice a month. Around the 20th (without press release) for the current and the following month and around the 5th (with press release) for the previous and the current month.

Arriving and departing ships are recorded for 500 ports worldwide. In addition, ship movements in 100 maritime regions are analyzed and the effective utilization of container ships is derived from draught information. Country-port correlations can be used to generate forecasts, even for countries without their own deep-sea ports.

Compared to previous leading trade indicators, the Kiel Trade Indicator is available much earlier, is much more comprehensive, relies on a uniquely large database using big data, and has a low statistical error by comparison. The algorithm of the Kiel Trade Indicator uses machine learning, so that the quality of the forecast continues to improve over time.

Methodology of the Kiel Trade Indicator

Kiel Trade Indicator Working Paper


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