The 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.