We are clearly in a period of weak global growth as shown by the 6 monthly rates of change in export volumes. What makes the current weakness of note is that it is the second such decline in the last year and the most pronounced outside of 2001 and 2008/2009:
And a closer look:
If we look at smoothed data which adjusts for monthly extremes we find further confirmation of weakness both at the annual and the six monthly:
And a closer look at the annual rate:
We can also look at the data from a high water mark perspective:
Again at both the monthly and six monthly data we see significant weakness from early 2015 followed by a late year recovery, followed by further weakness.
But the CPB World Trade Monitor is always a couple of months behind which is why current flash PMI data from the various Markit Surveys suggests that weakness has continued across global markets:
Markit Flash US Manufacturing PMI :crept closer to stagnation in May….overall business conditions…weakest since the current upturn started in October 2009….renewed fall in production…softer new order growth…further cuts to stocks of inputs….U.S. manufacturers signalled the first reduction in output since September 2009 in May….uncertainty…caused clients to delay spending decisions…reduced foreign client demand had underpinned slower growth in overall new orders…outstanding work at U.S. manufacturers falling for the fourth successive month in May….
Markit Flash Eurozone PMI – rate manufacturing output growth…second-weakest since February 2015. Growth of new orders received by factories also eased. Producers reported that domestic market conditions remained tough and softer international trade flows led to the smallest rise in new export business for 16 months.
Nikkei Flash Japan Manufacturing PMI™ – “Manufacturing conditions deteriorated at a faster rate mid-way through the second quarter of 2016…Both production and new orders declined sharply and at the quickest rates in 25 and 41 months respectively….a marked contraction in foreign demand, which saw the sharpest fall in over three years….