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International trade growth grinding to a halt

Merchandise trade growth slowed strongly in most major economies in the third quarter of 2011, according to figures just published by the OECD. Total imports of G7 and BRICS countries contracted by 1% in the third quarter, compared to 4.2% growth in the previous quarter. Total export growth slowed to 1%, compared to 4.6% in the previous quarter.

Serious fall in trade growth in 3rd quarter

Merchandise trade contracted in all major European economies, with falls in both exports and imports recorded in Germany, France, the UK and Italy. In the United States, imports contracted by 2.7% and export growth slowed to 2.5%, compared to 3.6% in the previous quarter. Export growth in China slowed sharply to 3.2% compared to 10.1% in the previous quarter while import growth accelerated slightly to 2.8% compared to 0.9% in the previous quarter.

In Japan merchandise trade increased strongly partly due to a technical rebound after the earthquake disaster. Exports also grew strongly in Canada but import growth stalled. Merchandise trade also stalled in Brazil, India, Russia, and South Africa.

If trade is an engine of growth, it looks very much as though the engine is stalling. More signs that we are slipping back into another global recession.

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Posted in International Trade

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