Carpe Diem

World merchandise trade and world industrial output reached new record highs in November

worldThe CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis released its monthly report a few weeks ago on world trade and world industrial production for the month of November 2012. Here are some of the highlights:

1. World merchandise trade volume increased in November by 0.8% on a monthly basis and by 2.7% on an annual basis, bringing the global trade index to a new all-time record high of 168.8 (see blue line in chart). World trade is now 5.4% above the previous April 2008 peak of 160.2 in the early days of the US and global recessions, and world trade hasn’t declined on a year-over-year basis since October 2009.

2. By region, annual export growth was led by Central and Eastern Europe at 9.4%, followed by Emerging Asia at 4.9%. Annual import growth was led by Africa and Middle East at 11.7%.

3. World industrial production increased by 0.6% in November from the previous month, following a 0.5% increase in October, and by 3.3% on an annual basis, reaching a new all-time high of 148.7 (see red line in chart), with especially strong annual output growth in Emerging Asia (10.3%) and the US (2.9%). Output declined in Europe (-3.5%) and Japan (-6.7%) on an annual basis through November. On an annual basis, world output hasn’t declined since November 2011.

4. World industrial output is now 10.1% above its previous recession-era peak in February 2008 (135.0) and 26% above the recessionary low of 118.1 in February 2009.

Bottom Line: Both world trade volume and world industrial output reached fresh record monthly highs in November. Trade (5.4%) and output (10.1%) are now far above their previous peaks during the early months of the global slowdown, providing evidence that the global economy has now made a complete recovery from the 2008-2009 recession.

Update: I’ve confirmed with the CPB that the world trade and world output data are adjusted for inflation and are real volumes of merchandise trade and industrial production, see explanatory note here from the CPB. Additionally, IMF data on world GDP available here indicate that world GDP increased by 16.4% between 2008 and 2012 in nominal dollars, and by 12.1% in constant dollars, which would be consistent with the 10.1% increase in world industrial output over roughly the same period.

6 thoughts on “World merchandise trade and world industrial output reached new record highs in November

  1. Bottom Line: Both world trade volume and world industrial output reached fresh record monthly highs in November. Trade (5.4%) and output (10.1%) are now far above their previous peaks during the early months of the global slowdown, providing evidence that the global economy has now made a complete recovery from the 2008-2009 recession.

    Individuals on food stamps reached 47.7 million at the end of the year. I guess all that trade and output is not helping many Americans.

  2. best i can tell, those are nominal figures. (though correct me if i am wrong)

    that would seem to imply that global trade is still down in real terms since 2008 and that global production may well still be down in real terms as well. (eg if global inflation has been 3% since the 2008 peak, then price is up 12.6%, which means real output dropped) which would seem to imply that we are not making new highs in real terms, but rather, are still in recovery 4 years after recession.

    i think we need to be a bit careful with nominal vs real figures here.

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