Global Trade Activity Falls at Steepest Rate in Eighteen Months

SAN FRANCISCO – October 18th 2023 – New data from Tradeshift shows transaction volumes across global supply chains dropped at their fastest rate in eighteen months in Q3. 

More than one million businesses use Tradeshift’s business commerce network to exchange invoicing and purchase order information relating to trade transactions across global supply chains. The company’s Q3 Index of Global Trade Health, which analyses the flow of these transactions, shows activity levels tracking 6 points below expected levels over the summer months (July-September). 

A slump in demand for manufactured goods is undoubtedly a factor in the latest slowdown. Activity across the sector dropped 9 points below the baseline in Q3. Freight demand also softened, dipping to 6 points below the anticipated level.  

Export-focused markets, including China and the Eurozone, are being hit the hardest by the slowdown in goods demand. Trade activity across the Eurozone slumped to 9 points below the expected level in Q3, compared to a deficit of 3 points in the previous quarter. In China, transaction volumes fell to 6 points below the baseline level, the first time activity has fallen into contraction territory this year. 

US trade activity also softened in Q3, but the rate of decline was far milder than in other markets. Transaction volume growth dropped to 3 points below the expected level in Q3, having surged to 3 points above the baseline in the previous quarter. 

“Globally, we’re seeing mounting evidence of an economy that’s preparing to land,” said James Stirk, CEO (interim) at Tradeshift. “Traditional manufacturing powerhouses across the Eurozone and China are facing a lot more turbulence than the US, where a robust domestic market means a softer landing seems more likely.”

While the fall in trade activity has been consistent across the majority of major economies, others are benefiting from a reconfiguration of supply chains that has gathered momentum since the pandemic. 

Tradeshift’s data shows Vietnam in particular profiting from an accelerating ‘China +’1’ production policy among Western companies. Transaction volumes have risen seven times faster than the global average over the past year

India, Malaysia and Mexico are also benefiting from supplier diversification with activity levels in each country rising at three times the global average over the past year.

“Global trade has looked more local in 2023, but a new kind of globalization is also starting to emerge and new stars are rising,” said Stirk. “To thrive in this environment businesses will have to forge a new set of relationships in new jurisdictions. For supply chain operators, enhancing the digital connectivity between trading partners will play a key role in ensuring this transition happens seamlessly.”


About Tradeshift’s Index of Global Trade Health

Tradeshift’s Index of Global Trade Health analyses business-to-business transaction volumes (orders processed from buyers and invoices processed from suppliers) submitted via the Tradeshift platform to offer a perspective of how external events may be impacting business-to-business commerce in a variety of different regions and sectors across the globe. 

About Tradeshift:

Tradeshift is the business commerce platform that redefines the way B2B buyers and suppliers connect, transact and grow. We’re a leader in e-invoicing and AP automation, offering tools for compliant e-invoicing in 50+ countries, including China. We’re an innovator in B2B marketplaces and embedded fintech services that bring value, opportunity and growth to any business that joins the network. Tradeshift’s vision is to connect every company in the world, creating economic opportunity for all. Today, the Tradeshift platform is home to a rapidly growing community of buyers and sellers operating in over 190 countries. Find out more at:

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