Despite the improvement in the first quarter of the current year, cracks in the economic outlook began to appear in the second quarter.
In China, the recovery from the reopening that followed the end of the zero-Covid policy lost steam, and the local real estate sector shows no signs of picking up.
At the same time, in the United States and Europe, the rapid rise in interest rates created tensions in the banking sector in the first half of the year, and concerns have arisen about possible repercussions for other financial institutions.
Maersk indicated that survey indicators point to flat growth at best in Europe and the United States in the second half of 2023 and early 2024, with a significant risk of recession in both regions.
The manufacturing sector continues to struggle, and the global purchasing managers’ index has remained in contraction territory since September 2022.
At the same time, final demand has begun to weaken, and investment spending on both capital goods and housing has suffered from the rapid rise in interest rates.
European consumers continued to tighten their spending on goods in the second quarter. The decline was moderate in the euro zone, with retail trade down 1.7% in April-May (y-o-y). More severe was in the United Kingdom, where goods consumption fell 2.3 percent.
On the other hand, in the United States, goods consumption growth remained in positive territory in April-May (1.1% y-o-y), but sequential growth has clearly slowed.
Meanwhile, the inventory correction continues. While the inventory-to-sales ratio has improved for retailers, it remains high among wholesalers, indicating that efforts are being made to align inventories with demand, but there is still work to be done, which will continue to affect logistics activities in all segments.