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Global merchandise trade continued to slow down in the first quarter

May 31, 2016

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reports that total international merchandise trade within the G20 contracted further in the first quarter of 2016, approaching six-year lows, as crude oil prices continued to fall.

According to the OECD total exports fell for the seventh consecutive quarter (by 3.8%), while imports fell for the eighth consecutive quarter (by 4.1%).

Imports in Q1 2016 fell in all G20 economies except Germany, with significant falls in China (by 14.7%), Korea (8.2%), South Africa (7.7%, the eighth consecutive drop), India (7.4%), the United Kingdom (6.5%) and Brazil (5.2%, the eighth consecutive drop). The European Union (EU28), Russia and the United States have now all recorded seven or more quarterly consecutive falls.

Export also fell significantly in Russia (by 16.8%, the seventh consecutive fall), China (9.3%), South Africa (7.4%) and the United Kingdom (7.2%). Only Brazil (up 0.3%), Germany (up 0.5%) and Japan (up 1.1%) recorded small increases in exports in Q1 2016, partly un-winding falls in previous quarters. Japan has moved to a trade surplus for the first time since Q1 2011 but quarterly imports and exports values remain well below their 2011 levels..

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