The global economy is once again showing some worrying signs of a slowdown, opening up a major downside risk to oil prices.
Global trade volumes are declining for the first time since the end of the 2008-2009 financial crisis, according to Reuters. Between December and February trade volumes contracted by 0.8 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. John Kemp of Reuters says the global economy is “one more shock away from recession,” pointing to a series of worrying indicators, including a contraction in cargoes at Hong Kong’s International Airport (the world’s busiest air cargo hub), falling volumes of shipping containers through the U.S. Port of Long Beach, and declining freight rail shipments in the U.S.
The IMF downgraded its estimate for global growth in early April, the fourth downgrade to its 2019 forecast in nine months. The Fund cited “the escalation of US-China trade tensions, macroeconomic stress in Argentina and Turkey, disruptions to the auto sector in Germany, tighter credit policies in China, and financial tightening alongside the normalization of monetary policy in the larger advanced economies have all contributed to a significantly weakened global expansion.”
While growth is still positive,…