In August 2016, the Container Throughput Index of the RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) suffered a setback and fell from a (revised) 119.2 points in Juli to 118.2 points. The index is thus indicating a contraction of world trade following two comparatively healthy quarters. For some time now, the monthly volatility of the index has proven to be extraordinary while all the time the index has been moving rather sideways. The solid revision of the Juli figure (upwards 0.6 points compared to the flash estimate) goes a long way in illustrating this trend.
The index is based on data of 81 world container ports covering approximately 60% of worldwide container handling. The ports are continuously monitored by the ISL as part of their market analysis. Because large parts of international merchandise trade are transported by ship, the development of port handling is a good indicator for world trade. As many ports release information about their activities only two weeks after the end of the respective month, the RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index is a reliable early indicator for the development of international merchandise trade and hence for the activity of the global economy.
The flash-estimate for August is based on data reported by 43 ports, accounting for ~ 78% of the total index volume.
The RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index for September will be released on October 25th.
More detail on regional trends and data for single ports can be found in our "Monthly Container Port Monitor"