Global Trade Index

Tradeshift’s Index of Global Trade Health Q1 2023

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Low order volumes hitting supplier cash flow

World trade data from Tradeshift’s Q1 Index of Global Trade Health shows global trade activity mirroring the wider economic slowdown. Transaction volumes on our platform remained in contraction territory for the fifth consecutive quarter.

Tradeshift’s analysis of purchase order and invoice patterns across its cloud-based network suggests that we’re seeing the tail-end of a nasty bullwhip cycle that has left large buyers struggling to rebalance inventory volumes against changing consumer spending habits. Retailers, in particular, are feeling the effects of post-pandemic inventory rebalancing. Activity across the sector fell to 12 points below the expected range.

Suppliers are feeling the sharp end of low order volumes over the past six months. Invoice volumes on our platform finished Q1 7 points below the baseline. Order volumes seemed to recover slightly in Q1, suggesting this period of order rebalancing may be coming to an end. Nevertheless, suppliers are likely to experience cash flow pressures in the coming quarter.

Additional key findings from the Q4 Index include:

    • Demand across the T&L sector continues to soften. Activity levels across the sector finished Q1 9 points below the expected range.
    • Trade in the US remained low, at 6 points below the baseline, but rising order volumes suggest a brighter outlook.
    • China’s reopening triggered a sharp rise in activity. Transaction volumes climbed back into the expected range for the first time in two years. But the outlook is complex.
    • Trade activity in Mexico and Vietnam has grown at multiples of the global average in the past year as businesses accelerate diversification efforts.
    • After a strong Q4, activity in the Eurozone fell to 8 points below the expected range. UK trade activity dropped to -7 points.

Read the full report to find out how your business can prepare for the months ahead.

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