Asia’s exports seem to be picking up again, but factory activity appears sluggish in various parts of the world, and the uptick may be temporary.
Bloomberg’s latest Trade Tracker shows mixed signals, but the indicators remain stable, as in the beginning of the fourth quarter, with only four out of ten measures below the normal range.
In its Trade Tracker, Bloomberg looks at measures of freight, sentiment, and export volumes. For the clearest indication, each measure’s distance from historical norms is assessed.
A Different Picture in China
South Korea’s export growth has been supported by stronger demand for electronics, and a 4.6 percent reduction brought Taiwan’s exports back to normal levels.
However, new data from China shows a different picture. On the Chinese mainland, the number of export orders was below normal, steadily declining throughout November.
Even outside China, in key export markets like Europe and the USA, factory activity was sluggish and global manufacturing decreased for the 15th consecutive month.
The recent slight increase in Asia’s exports may prove to be only temporary.
“Inventory corrections may flatter current trade figures, but forward-looking indicators, including new export orders in PMIs, as well as global new orders for consumer and industrial electronics, still point to relatively weak end demand,” reports HSBC Holdings, according to Bloomberg.