Most major global economies saw positive domestic and export growth over the last quarter. The exception was China, where exports have declined due to a slowdown in manufacturing and weakened overseas demand. But with China's exports stabilizing and global trade on the rebound, the global economy is expected to recover, even as markets adjust to the U.S. Federal Reserve's wind-down of quantitative easing.
Global container throughput declined by an estimated 1.6 percent in Q3/2013, even though rising import demand from developed economies drove up overall trade growth by 3.0 percent, to US $2.1 billion (see Figure 1). Container throughput in Europe, greatly affected by the region's economic crises of 2011, is expected to recover during Q4/2013 and into 2014, thanks to fiscal and operative measures taken by the European Central Bank. Additionally, the euro zone's exports to emerging markets have fallen, leaving Europe to seek other sources of demand for sustainable growth.
In Japan, newly elected officials have implemented an aggressive monetary policy to stimulate the economy and take advantage of the depreciating yen. The fastest-growing export destinations are the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). However, Brazil continues to struggle with decelerating private consumption and demand for exports.
China, the United States, and Germany drove modest global economic growth in Q3. China's GDP grew by 1.3 percent and its total trade increased by 4.6 percent. Given the growth in land and housing values, China plans to bring its GDP measurement in line with global standards soon. Tax increases, federal spending cuts, and a reduction in consumer spending caused U.S. GDP growth to decelerate by 0.39 percent while total trade increased by 2.7 percent. Germany's exports to emerging markets have boosted its total trade by 3.0 percent, but its GDP growth rate declined by 0.55 percent in Q3.