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The CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis released its monthly report this week on world trade and world industrial production for the month of January 2012. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. World trade volume increased in January by 0.9% on a monthly basis and by 2.8% on an annual basis, bringing the global trade index to a new all-time record high of 167.5 (see blue line in chart). World trade is now 4.6% above the previous April 2008 peak of 160.2 in the early part of the U.S. and global recessions.
  2. By region, annual export growth was led by the United States at 10%, followed by 9% export growth for Latin America and 9% for Central and Eastern Europe.
  3. World industrial output increased by 0.8% in January from the previous month and by 3.6% on an annual basis, reaching a new all-time high of 146.2 (see red line in chart), with especially strong annual output growth in Asia (8.2%) and emerging economies (6.3%). Output declined in Europe (-0.9%), Latin America (0.4%), and Japan (-1.0%) on an annual basis, and increased by 3.5% in the United States.
  4. World output is now 8.3% above its pre-recession level in February 2008 (135.0) and 24% above the recessionary low in February 2009.

Bottom Line: Both world trade volume and world industrial output reached fresh record monthly high levels in January. Trade and output are now far above their pre-recession levels, providing evidence that the global economy has made a complete recovery from the 2008-2009 recession. For the U.S., the annual growth rates for exports (10%) and industrial output (3.5%) reflect the underlying strength in America's manufacturing sector.

Source: World Trade And Output Set New Records In January