Chinese-American trade conflict becomes increasingly apparent

According to the latest flash estimate, the container throughput index released by the RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) showed yet another significant decrease in December 2019. At 134.1, it is meanwhile 4.7 points lower than its highest level in September 2019. At the same time, the value for November was revised downwards compared to the flash estimate.

The negative impact of current trade conflicts on world trade is becoming increasingly apparent, as cargo handling volumes are now also declining in the Chinese ports. So far, the downswing has been felt mainly in the ports on the west coast of the USA.

The flash estimate for November is based on data from 45 ports that account for around 70% of the transshipment volume shown in the index. The RWI/ISL container throughput index for January 2020 will be published on 25 February 2020.

Roland Döhrn, head of RWI’s macroeconomics and public finance department, comments the new figures as follows: “Container throughput is currently showing the sharpest decline since autumn 2008, in other words, since the great recession”.