CHINA – New bank loans in China surged in August to 1.36 trillion yuan, nearly quadrupling from July’s total and providing a sign that China’s beleaguered property sector may be finally starting to recover. On a negative note, trading in shares of property development giant China Evergrande Group were halted again in late September and the company’s chairman and founder put under police investigation.
UNCTAD has published its latest 2023 review of maritime transport. The report found that maritime trade volume contracted marginally by 0.4% in 2022 but is expected to grow by 2.4% in 2023. Over the medium term out to 2028, total seaborne trade is expected to grow by 2.1% to 2.2% per year. As a result of disruptions from the war in Ukraine, shipments of grain travelled longer distances in 2023 than any other year on record.
WTO – The World Trade Organisation’s latest World Trade Report confirms that geopolitical tensions are beginning to affect trade flows, including in ways that point towards fragmentation of trading relationships. The WTO looked at two hypothetical geopolitical blocs base on voting patterns at the UN General Assembly. They calculate that trade flows between the blocs had grown 4-6% more slowly than trade within the blocs. However, despite these findings, the WTO contends that international trade continues to thrive and that talk of de-globalisation is on balance still not supported by the data.