(Enda Curran & Andrew Mayeda – Bloomberg)
It was meant to be the year of the trade war. Instead, it was the year of the trade boom.
As 2017 draws to a close, the International Monetary Fund is projecting the volume of trade in goods and services will have climbed 4.2 percent over the year, up from 2.4 percent in 2016. That would be the first time trade has outpaced output growth since 2014 and harks back to the pre-crisis days when such outperformance was a regular occurrence.
Among the winners: big manufacturing powerhouses such as Germany and China and producers of electronics like South Korea, which Thursday raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time since 2011 after months of surging exports. Caterpillar Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. are some of the companies that are cashing in.
Closely watched gauges on manufacturing suggest the recovery should continue into 2018. A weighted average of flash Purchasing Managers Indexes for China’s major trade partners came in at 56.3 in November – the highest since February 2011, according to Bloomberg Economics. China’s official manufacturing PMI unexpectedly climbed to 51.8 in November. Click here to read more.