The calm before the storm?

The container throughput index published by the RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) showed a surprising record result for July 2019. According to the current flash estimate for July, the index reached the record level of 139.0. At the same time, the result for June was revised upwards from 137.1 to 138.0. This was mainly due to corrections in the data from some Chinese ports. Hence, the trade conflict between the USA and China has not yet had much impact on the ports involved in worldwide container traffic.

The flash estimate for July is based on information gained from 29 ports that account for almost 68% of the throughput described in the index. However, as figures from the most recent ISL Monthly Container Port Monitor published in the first half of 2019 show, Chinese ports and ports on the west coast of America generated substantially lower growth rates than their European competitors last year.

RWI’s chief economic forecaster Roland Döhrn: “Despite the current slight upturn in container throughput, world trade is heading for difficult times.” The RWI/ISL container throughput index for August 2019 will be published on 25 September 2019.