01 September 2022

Global goods trade growth slows in Q2: WTO

Global goods trade continued to grow in the second quarter (Q2) of 2022 but that the pace of growth was slower than in Q1 and is likely to remain weak in the second half of the year, said the World Trade Organization in a new report.

The WTO’s Goods Trade Barometer, a composite leading indicator for world trade, remains below a companion index representing actual merchandise trade volumes, suggesting that year-on-year trade growth may slow further but remain positive when official Q2 statistics become available, with trade simultaneously weighed down by the conflict in Ukraine and buoyed by the lifting of Covid-19 lockdowns in China.

The volume of world merchandise trade plateaued with year-on-year growth slowing to 3.2 per cent the first quarter of 2022, down from 5.7 per cent in fourth quarter of 2021. The slowdown in Q1 only partly reflected the impact of the conflict in Ukraine, which broke out in late February. Lockdowns in China also weighed heavily on trade in the first quarter. 

The components of the goods barometer are a mixed bag, with most indices showing on trend or below trend growth. The forward-looking export orders index (100.1) is on trend but has turned downwards. The automotive products index (99.0) is only slightly below trend but has lost its upward momentum.

Indices for air freight (96.9) and electronic components (95.6) are below trend and pointing down, while the raw materials index (101.0) has recently risen slightly above trend. The main exception is the container shipping index (103.2), which has risen firmly above trend as shipments through Chinese ports have increased with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.


Saudi ports clock 16pc growth in cargo volumes

Cargo throughput rose by 16 per cent in July at Saudi ports, racking up 28 million tonnes compared to 24 million tonnes in July 2021, largely due to optimised organisational performance and world-class levels of efficiency.

Statistics by the Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) further reveal a 45.4 per cent growth in general cargo at 718,082 tonnes, a 30.3 per cent increase in dry bulk cargo at 4.2 million tonnes, and a 19.1 per cent surge in liquid bulk cargo at 16.3 million tonnes, a Saudi Press Agency (SPA) report said.

Similarly, container throughput jumped 6.4 per cent to 641,862 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit ) compared to 602,181 TEUs during the same period last year. Transshipments, too, spiked 9.5 per cent year-on-year to hit 268,000 TEUs versus previous year’s volumes of 245,000 TEUs.

Moreover, 1,140 vessels dropped anchor across the kingdom’s trade hubs at a 12 per cent yearly growth rate. Automobile imports also soared to 78,438 units at 31 per cent compared to 60,052 vehicles in 2021, whereas foodstuff volumes recorded a 40 per cent uptick last month at 2 million tonnes.

Passenger traffic stood at 95,000 pax, a staggering leap of 70.3 per cent from last year’s tally of 56,000. On the other hand, 615,000 cattle heads were unloaded last month under the highest standards of efficiency and effectiveness.


Bahrain national product exports jump 29pc

The value of Bahrain’s exports of national origin jumped 29 per cent to BD421 million ($1.17 billion) in July 2022. It was BD327 million in the same month the previous year, the Information &eGovernment Authority said in its trade report.

The top 10 countries in terms of the value of exports of national origin purchased from Bahrain accounted for 79 per cent of the total value, with the remaining countries accounting for 21 per cent. Saudi Arabia ranked first among countries receiving Bahraini exports of national origin, importing products worth BD87 million from Bahrain. The US came second with BD74 million and the UAE third with BD53 million.

Unwrought aluminium alloy emerged as the top product exported during July 2022 with BD162 million, agglomerated iron ores and concentrates were second with a value of BD89 million and aluminium wire not alloyed third with BD18 million.

The value of imports increased by 12 per cent, reaching BD468 million during July 2022 compared to BD418 million for the same month of the previous year. The top 10 countries accounted for 68 per cent of the value of imports, with the remaining countries accounting for 32 per cent.

According to the report, Brazil ranked first when it came to imports to Bahrain, with a total of BD71 million, China was second with BD67 million and the UAE third with BD40 million.

Non-agglomerated iron ores and concentrates emerged as the top product imported into Bahrain with a total value of BD88 million, while aluminium oxide was second with BD22 million, gold ingots third with BD15 million.

The total value of re-exports decreased by 18 per cent to reach BD49 million during July 2022, compared to BD60 million for the same month of the previous year. The top 10 countries accounted for 88 per cent of the re-exported value, while the remaining countries accounted for the 12 per cent.


UAE’s non-oil foreign trade tops $272bn in H1

THE UAE’s non-oil trade achieved a breakthrough during the first half of 2022, as it exceeded AED1 trillion ($272 billion), recording a growth rate of 17 percent over the last half of the year 2021, said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

“For the first time, the UAE non-oil foreign trade exceeds AED1 trillion in just half a year. We reached AED1 trillion and AED53 billion, recording an increase of 17 per cent over the previous half year,” Sheikh Mohammed was quoted as saying in a Wam report. The UAE’s non-oil foreign trade growth in H1 marked an increase of 25 per cent and 35 per cent compared to the same period in the years of 2020 and 2019 respectively.


Stable Q3 investment climate seen in Bahrain

Bahrain’s Business Confidence Index (BCI) showcased that 91.1 per cent of investors expect stability in the kingdom’s investment climate for the third quarter (Q3) of this year.

The Business Performance index stood at 99.25 points in Q3 of 2022 compared to 98.13 points registered in Q2 of 2022, an increase of 1.12 points or 1.14 per cent than the previous quarter. The current index has shown a rise of 14.16 points compared to the same period of 2021, an Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) statement said.

The quarterly survey measured business confidence by company size, industry, and investment type.  A positive outlook overall was recorded in the BCI’s business performance, profits, and competition sub-indices in Q3 2022.

The results revealed that 91.1 per cent of companies have a stable to optimistic outlook, which is an increase of 2.4 per cent compared to the previous quarter. 41.5 per cent of companies expect a stable business performance, while 49.6 per cent anticipate improvement, it said.

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