Sun Kwang Newport Container Terminal in Incheon, South Korea. Video: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg 

Asian Trade Helps Buoy the World on Bloomberg Trade Tracker


Trade powerhouses in Asia are helping to send ripples of recovery through the global economy, providing a buffer against virus resurgence in the U.S. and Europe that threatens to sap demand.

South Korea’s exports for the first 20 days of November posted their best reading since February, and Taiwan showed a fourth month of growth above 9% in October. Nine of 10 gauges on the Bloomberg Trade Tracker have retained “normal” status since early September, and four are at or above average. Over the past two months, the dashboard has shown its healthiest record in its two-year history.

Global trade continues to face significant negative risks, including an uncertain road ahead for U.S.-China relations, on top of economies worldwide that are revisiting mobility restrictions amid the pandemic.

For now, though, the latest data are keeping up the good trade news. “The Asia-Pacific economy is leading the global recovery from the pandemic,” Steve Cochrane, chief economist for the Asia-Pacific region at Moody’s Analytics, said in a Nov. 17 report. “China leads Asia’s recovery, and exports lead China’s recovery.”

We’ve selected measures across shipping, sentiment and export volumes to watch for signs of stress amid the tensions. For the clearest indication, we measured how far each gauge is from historic norms.

How the indicators compare 👆

Latest data available for shipping, sentiment and export volume indicators, z-scores*