Chart of the week: world trade growth has stalled

World trade is struggling to recover from the massive recession caused by the financial crisis.

Chart of global trade growth

Global trade (exports plus imports) averaged less than 10% of GDP before the 1800s, says Deutsche Bank. It then tripled by 1914, thanks to advances in communication and production triggered by the industrial revolution. The two major wars of the 20th century caused a hiatus, but the advent of shipping containers, along with falling tariffs due to successive rounds of multilateral trade talks, underpinned further progress after 1945. Today, however, trade is struggling to recover from the massive recession caused by the financial crisis. A multi-decade downtrend in US protectionism is reversing under Donald Trump, with the average tariff for all imports ticking up in recent years for the first time since the 1950s.

Viewpoint

Simon English, Evening Standard

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