Winter is coming… and shows no sign of letting up on the state of world trade

For the third consecutive quarter, world trade data has shown declining momentum across supply chains.

The combination of rising costs and waning consumer confidence in Q3 is pushing demand downwards worldwide. With this in mind, it’s clear that the next six months will be defined by confidence in the US, Russia’s aggression in Europe, and China’s evolving response to COVID-19.

“The signs aren’t looking good,” says the WTO’s Director General, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, one of a growing number of leading international figures who think the world could be headed into a recession. They may well be right.

Our Q3 Global Trade Index data shows the third successive quarter of declining momentum across global supply chains. The 5-point slowdown in total transaction volumes we saw in Q3 is by no means catastrophic. Still, the accelerated decline in order volumes since the beginning of the year presents a concerning pattern.

Key findings

Perspectives

How has the supply chain become the competitive advantage for every business?

Niels Boersema, Supply Chain Integration Director at Danone, explains managing risk and having the time to take action is critical. Organizations need technology to achieve that. Otherwise, they will be slower, less agile, and more in the dark.

Read the full interview in the report

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 gives us a unique awareness of trading activity between businesses.

Tradeshift’s Index of Global Trade Health analyzes anonymized world trade data flowing across our platform to reveal a timely perspective of how external events are impacting business-to-business commerce around the world.

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 various external factors. What our data does provide is 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, something which you will see us draw on throughout this report.

Methodology

The Index of Global Trade Health compares business-to-business transaction volumes (orders processed from buyers and invoices processed from suppliers) submitted via the Tradeshift platform against a ‘baseline’ we have created by analyzing medium-term seasonal trends in the transaction data that flows across our platform.

A reading that meets the baseline indicates growth aligned with expectations against historical trends. Readings greater than and below the baseline indicate above-trend and below-trend growth.

Looking at the data in this way helps give a sense of how volatile activity is across different sectors and geographies. For example, a sudden rise in orders might trigger orders to jump at a rate that exceeds what we would consider normal. By contrast, waning demand might trigger volatility in the opposite direction.

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.

Download the full report

Past Reports

Q2 2022 trade report

Q2 2022

Inflation is more than a passing phase

Q1 2022 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.

Other Links