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

War to Raise Pressure on Stretched Prices, Bloomberg Trade Tracker Shows

Updated:

Key price indicators of global trade began surging before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a warning sign that the worst may be yet to come as the war powers commodities to dizzying heights.

All four price gauges on the Bloomberg Tracker have breached their normal range. Eurozone industrial producer prices look the most overheated, rising in January about 30% year-on-year, a record pace. The energy sub-index jumped more than 85%.

Prices of major commodities traded in Asia and Chinese electronics exports were also well above normal, while imported goods in the U.S. showed a modest rise.

The fallout from the war in Ukraine and tightening sanctions on Russia are squeezing supplies and sending prices soaring for a wide range of basic goods, from oil and plastics to nickel and wheat.

It’s the latest shock threatening to upend global trade, just as the omicron wave abates and nations reopen to help ease supply chain bottlenecks. Of the 10 indicators on the Bloomberg Trade tracker, nine were back to normal early this year.

Shipping flowed more freely in the key ports of Los Angeles and Singapore, while export volumes in electronics hubs South Korea and Taiwan continue to grow, signaling resilient global demand. The business outlooks in Germany and the U.S. were also improved.

Hong Kong was the only outlier, with container throughput falling nearly a fifth as authorities tightened borders and movement restrictions amid its “Covid Zero” strategy.

We’ve selected measures across shipping, sentiment and export volumes to watch. 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*