August 13, 2018

WTO Says World Trade Tensions About To Hit Growth


  • The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) quarterly outlook indicator fell to 100.3 for the third quarter from 101.8 in the second quarter. The WTO said the outlook had softened primarily due to escalating trade tensions. In a recent opinion piece, WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo argued, “Global trade is under threat. Whether or not you call the current situation a trade war, certainly the first shots have been fired … The situation is extremely serious. Reciprocal trade restrictions cannot be the new normal. A continued escalation would risk a major economic impact … hitting the poorest hardest.”
  • According to American Metal Market (AMM, subscription required), Chinese steel mills reduced steel output at the end of July. Production at mills that are part of the China Iron and Steel Association and make up 80 percent of the country’s output, fell three percent to 1.9 million tons per day during the final 11 days of the month while finished steel inventories declined seven percent.
  • AMM also reported that Chinese exports of unwrought aluminum increased 1.8 percent between June 2018 and July 2018 and 18 percent between July 2017 and July 2018.
  • In other global economic news: according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, sales of sedans, SUVs, and minivans fell 5.3 percent between July 2017 and July 2018 while total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, dropped four percent.