The ‘Roaring Twenties’ for global trade is on hold as we endure new and familiar challenges

After a tumultuous Q1, global trade has longed for a reprieve that is not here just yet.

With global transactions at a notable low, intercontinental supply chain issues causing massive bottlenecks, and labour shortages threatening businesses, Q2 of 2022 saw even more losses than Q1.

At the end of Q1, a bleak picture was painted for the near future of world trade. Unfortunately, these predictions proved to be accurate as global transaction volumes fell for the second quarter in a row, not to mention invoice traffic took its steepest drop in over a year.

In the face of skyrocketing energy prices, supply chain bottlenecks, and labour shortages, it’s hard to argue that supply chains have seen an outlook this rocky in recent memory. And while some of the current challenges facing supply chains are transitory, we’d be remiss to ignore the structural changes in the world economy that could mean inflation remains a recurring problem. However, all is not lost, as experts predict a focus on sustainable trade and supply chain resilience could be the path to redemption.

Key findings

Perspectives

Where do enterprises go from here?

Business leaders in every sector are now acknowledging what we have been saying for all these years. Amid the gloomy short-term forecast, supply chain resilience, access to finance, and a focus on sustainable trade are seen as the fastest route to a brighter future.

About the Tradeshift Index of Global Trade Health

Purpose

Many of the world’s largest buyers and suppliers use Tradeshift’s trade technology network to exchange digitized purchasing and invoicing information. The data these transactions yield provides a unique awareness of trading activity between businesses.

Tradeshift’s Index of Global Trade Health analyzes anonymized data flowing across our platform to reveal a timely perspective of how external events impact business-to-business commerce worldwide.

We acknowledge that there are limits to how accurately our view of what is happening on our network can reflect how complex global supply chains are reacting to a variety of external factors. Our data provides a useful snapshot that provides clues as to what might be happening to the global economy. The patterns we see in our data become more valuable as we combine them with other third-party data and expert insight, which you will see us draw on throughout this report.

Methodology

The new model compares business-to-business transaction volumes (orders from buyers and invoices from suppliers) submitted via the Tradeshift platform since Q1 2020 against a ‘baseline’ we have created by analysing medium-term seasonal trends in the transaction data that flows across our platform.

A reading of 100 indicates growth in line with expectations against historical trends. Readings greater than and below 100 indicate above-trend and below-trend growth.

We consistently strive to improve and evolve the accuracy of our analysis. As a result, it is possible that from time to time, you may see small revisions to historical numbers reported in previous versions of the Index.

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Past Reports

Q4 2021 trade report

Q1 2022

A new chapter in the age of uncertainty.

Q4 2021 trade report

Q4 2021

Global trade passes the latest resilience test... for now at least.

Q2 2021 trade report

Q3 2021

Recovery stalls on supply chain issues. Temporary pain or a bellwether of more disruptions to come?

Q2 2021 trade report

Q2 2021

New normal? Supply chains adapted, but companies have yet to decide whether the economics of resiliency stack up.

Other Links

Q3 2020 trade report

Q3 2020

After seeing trade activity slump to record lows as a result of the lockdown in early second quarter, signs of a recovery began to emerge in May and June as economies in the West began to reopen.

Other Links

Q2 2020 trade report

Q2 2020

Ever since reports of the virus first emerged in January, we've followed the impact of the pandemic on business-to-business trade and the health of global supply chains. It’s been an extraordinary few months.

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