Global trade outlook in 2019

Can Fuat Gürlesel, one of the advisors to Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM) and I meet at least once a month to discuss the latest developments in World Trade. In his last report, he clearly reflects the realizations as well as expectations.

According to Gürseli’s study, expectations for 2019 are rising further as the year is coming to an end. For instance, we could form an opinion based on World Trade Organization data.

WTO statistics reflect that foreign trade performance in 2018 wasn’t better than the previous year. 2018 performance remains rather poor especially in terms of export orders volume. International freight transport almost hits rock bottom in performance as well as annual container outflows.

Car production and sales number, on the other hand, seem to be in decline until the third quarter despite their good performance in the beginning of the year. As for the electrical and electronic products, they look relatively better in performance. But I have good news too.

World merchandise exports valued at 17.2 trillion dollars in 2017 are expected to reach 18.5 trillion dollars this year. If things do not change for the worse because of “Trade Wars” this number might achieve 19.7 trillion dollars in 2019. Besides, the fact that value-based rate of increase is higher than amount-based rate of increase shows that sellers did raise their prices, which means there is lots of competition but the buyers are not fastidious.

“Major risks in 2019….”

World trade is expected to grow 4% in the next year. While emerging markets’ export volume is forecast to grow 3.3%, developed countries export volume is projected to increase at about 4.4%. But the most interesting thing is that rate of export volume growth in developed countries has turned out to be higher than the rate of export volume growth in developing countries since 2017, which once again shows us the importance of value-added activities, branding, design and innovation.

Key risks the World will face in 2019 are: Trump and his Swift Decisions, Trade Protectionism, Brexit, Geopolitical Risks, Iran sanctions and the situation in Syria.

I can easily say that this report prepared by Can Fuat Gürlesel 4 times a year will serve as a guiding light for TIM’s upcoming strategies. I wish him a successful and fruitful year ahead.