Tuesday 6 December 2016

Worldwide slowdown as G20 nations see slump in trade

Published 02/03/2016 | 02:30

Forecast poor for Brazil. Photo: Bloomberg News
Forecast poor for Brazil. Photo: Bloomberg News

Global trade slumped again at the end of last year, with exports dropping for the sixth consecutive quarter and imports down for the seventh, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has said.

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In a note published yesterday, the Paris-based body said that for 2015, exports across the G20 group of the world's biggest economies plummeted by 11.3pc, while imports dropped even more, by 13pc. Across the big oil producers, export orders fell significantly in the final three months of last year, including Canada, by 5.4pc, Russia by 2.2pc and Saudi Arabia, reflecting the double whammy of falling oil prices and an appreciating US dollar.

The OECD said that in both South Africa and Brazil, imports contracted by 6.2pc and 9.2pc respectively to around their lowest levels in six years.

The think tank has already more than doubled its forecast for Brazil's recession this year, projecting it will be even worse than in 2015. The country's economy is predicted to shrink by 4pc this year after a 3.8pc recession in 2015.

Internationally, the import side doesn't fare much better. Imports in India slumped by 8.1pc in the final quarter of last year and in the United States, the world's biggest economy, imports fell for the sixth straight quarter, by 2.7pc, with exports also falling for the second quarter by 3.5pc. Among the G20 economies, only China and Turkey saw their exports grow, by 0.3pc and 3.3pc respectively, while imports also grew in both countries.

"For the year 2015 as a whole, G20 exports fell by 11.3pc while imports fell by 13pc," the OECD said.

"Declines in both imports and exports were recorded in all G20 economies in 2015. Saudi Arabia recorded the largest fall in exports over the period while Russia recorded the largest fall in imports, in both cases by more than 35pc."

Exports and imports in the EU fell for a sixth consecutive quarter, by 1pc and 1.4pc respectively. Exports fell in France, Germany and the UK, while they remained unchanged in Italy.

Last week the OECD called on the world's 20 biggest economies to step up the slowing pace of reforms to boost economic growth amid slowing trade.

Irish Independent

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