Specifically, the WTO statistics presented that the volume of world merchandise trade was declined by 0.2% in the third quarter of 2019, in comparison to the previous year. Yet, although the year-on-year growth figures for the fourth quarter may pick up slightly, the latest barometer reading provides no indication of a sustained recovery.

Also, year-on-year trade development is possible to face a decline in the first quarter of 2020. However, official confirmation will be available in June.

The statistics report that the drop in the barometer since November was due to additional declines in indices for container shipping (94.8) and agricultural raw materials (90.9), as well as the plateauing of the automotive products index (100.0).

Although indices for export orders (98.5), air freight (94.6) and electronic components (92.8) are all below baseline, they appear to have stabilized and would normally be expected to rise in the coming months. Yet, all the above components of the Goods Trade Barometer will be affected by the economic impact of the COVID-19 and the fruitful efforts to treat and contain the disease.

Similarly affected is the oil sector, as the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that although the global liquid fuels demand will average 101.7 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2020, meaning 1.0 million b/d more than the 2019 average, it will be 378,000 b/d less than what was forecast in the January 2020 edition of the Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO).

COVID-19 has made news headlines after the first incident was reported in Wuhan, China, in December and the virus spread rapidly in the globe.

Common signs of the Coronavirus include

  • respiratory symptoms,
  • fever,
  • cough,
  • shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.