May 25, 2020

CPB World Trade Monitor March 2020

World trade was 1.4% lower in March compared to February. This decline is hardly greater than in January and February, when world trade also declined by an average of 1.2%. The decline in industrial production of 0.2% is also in line with the previous months.There are major regional differences in the development of trade and production. The downturn is particularly strong in Europe, with trade falling by more than 7% and industrial production falling by over 12%. In China, trade and production rebounded in March, following a sharp decline in January and a consolidation in February. It is striking that the fluctuations in industrial production, both the downturn in the advanced economies and the growth in the emerging economies, are stronger than the fluctuations in trade. We expect a stronger decline in trade and production in April and May, in line with a tightening of COVID-19 measures in many regions. The monitor refers to March, but we provide a look ahead in these special times. Partial figures for April show a mostly negative picture, and leading indicators such as Global New Export Orders point to a stronger decline in global trade in the coming months.
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Developments in global international trade and industrial production March 2020:

  • World trade volume decreased 1.4% month-on-month (growth was -0.7% in February, initial estimate -1.5%) and growth was -2.5% in 2020Q1 (-0.5% in 2019Q4).
  • World trade momentum was -2.5% (non-annualised; -1.3% in February, initial estimate -1.4%).
  • World industrial production decreased 0.2% month-on-month (having increased 0.1% in February, initial estimate 0.2%) and growth was -4.2% in 2020Q1 (0.3% in 2019Q4).
  • World industrial production momentum was -4.2% (non-annualised; -2.4% in February, initial estimate -2.6%).

The next release of the CPB World Trade Monitor is scheduled for 25 June 2020, 15:00 hours.

CPB publishes a World Trade Monitor every month on behalf of the European Commission. It takes two months for the figures to become available. For questions please contact

Read also the CPB Background Document 'The CPB World Trade Monitor: technical description (update 2020)'. In September 2016 (starting with the July 2016 monitor) the WTM base year has been moved from 2005 to 2010. Clarification of the procedure and its outcomes is given in the downloadable appendix (CPB Memo 'Change of base year WTM').

If you want to receive an email alert every time CPB publishes its update of the world trade monitor, please subscribe to our alert service on this page (CPB Data).

The World Trade Monitor is partially financed by DG ECFIN (Directorate General of Economic and Monetary Affairs of the Economic Commission).


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