Global Trade Gains Momentum: Insights from Tradeshift’s Q1 2024 Report

The first quarter of 2024 has shown promising signs for the global economy, according to the latest Global Trade Health Index from Tradeshift. This analysis dives into the subtleties of the trade landscape, revealing significant growth in major markets like China and the US, amidst ongoing global challenges.

Overview of Global Trade Health in Q1 2024

The beginning of 2024 marked an uptick in global trade activities, particularly noted in powerhouse economies. Tradeshift’s report highlights a notable recovery, with transaction volumes across its network showing improvement. Although still slightly below expectations, the growth trajectory signals a positive momentum unseen in previous quarters. James Stirk, CEO of Tradeshift, remarked on the trend: “We’re seeing successive quarters of strong order volume growth for the first time in two years”​.

Trade activities in China experienced the most significant increase, with transaction volumes rising two points above the anticipated level—the highest in over two and a half years. Similarly, the US showed robust performance, with order volumes surging impressively. However, in the UK, despite a slight improvement, trade activity remained sluggish, underlining the uneven recovery across different regions.

Challenges to Sustained Recovery

Despite these green shoots, the global trade landscape faces persistent challenges. Liquidity issues remain a hurdle, with extended invoice payment times exacerbating the strain on supply chains. Stirk emphasizes the critical nature of liquidity: “Cash flow is akin to fuel in supply chains, and a lot of suppliers will be running on empty after two hard years”. Geopolitical tensions, including the ongoing Red Sea crisis, further complicate the recovery process, posing risks to sustained growth.

In response to these challenges, technological advancements and strategic partnerships are being leveraged to fortify global trade. A notable development is the upcoming joint venture between Tradeshift and HSBC, aimed at enhancing access to working capital through innovative financial services. This collaboration is expected to introduce a range of embedded financial solutions that could redefine business transactions on a global scale.

The current recovery in global trade is a complex interplay of economic resilience and looming challenges. As businesses navigate this landscape, the integration of technology and strategic financial services appears crucial. With cautious optimism, we can anticipate further stabilization and growth in the global market, provided that companies adapt to and overcome the prevailing economic uncertainties.


  • Tradeshift Q1 Index of Global Trade Health
  • Global Trade Recovery Trends – HSBC Insights
  • Digital Commerce on Global Trade – DigitalCommerce360