The seasonally adjusted Container Throughput Index of the Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI) and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL) increased noticeably from a corrected 113.9 in November to 115.5 in December, indicating a strengthening of world trade.
It is now close to its previous peak of September though the latter had mostly been a result of special factors. The index value for November was revised upwards by 1.4 points since last month. Part of this revision results from the fact that the October value, too, has slightly improved after the incorporation of data that only became available recently. The underlying tendency of the Index remains largely unchanged by the revision.
The December flash forecast is based on a sample of 39 ports handling roughly 75% of the traffic represented in the index. Thanks to this relatively broad basis, it can be expected that it will only be revised slightly during the next months. In past publications of the index, the average revision of the flash forecast was 0.8 points in the first month after its publication and 0.9 points in the three months following the first publication.
The Index is based on data for 72 international ports covering more than 60% of world container handling. These ports are continuously monitored by the ISL as part of their market analysis. Because large parts of international merchandise trade are transported by ship, the development of port handling is a good indicator for world trade. As many ports release information about their activities only two weeks after the end of the respective month, the RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index is a reliable early indicator for the development of international merchandise trade and hence for the activity of the global economy.
The RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index for January 2013 will be published on February 26th 2013.