Merchandise trade declines across most major economies in first quarter of 2014
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27/05/2014 - Total merchandise exports of the G7 and BRICS economies combined fell 2.7% in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the previous quarter (seasonally adjusted figures in current US dollars). Imports stagnated with only 0.1% growth over the same period (mainly due to continued imports of crude oil and fuels).
Exports fell sharply in China (by 7.3%) which may partly reflect the Chinese New Year but also the impact of a government crack-down on over-invoicing; imports fell more moderately (by 0.9%). In Japan, the recent import boom in the run up to the consumption tax hike in April seems to have dissipated, with imports rising by only 0.9%, while exports slowed sharply (by 3.5%). Overall this resulted in a record high trade deficit of 44.8 billion USD.
In the United States, exports fell by 1.3%, while imports increased by 0.8%. Canada witnessed the sharpest quarterly decrease in exports (2.9%) and imports (3.3%) since 2009. Merchandise trade also declined substantially in the United Kingdom (3.2% for imports and 4.3% for exports).
Among the G7 and BRICS countries, only Germany and Italy registered an increase in merchandise exports of 2.1% and 1.5%, respectively. Exports and imports were mainly flat in France.
In other BRICS countries merchandise trade also contracted. In Brazil, exports declined 5.8% and imports increased by 1.9% while in Russia exports and imports declined by 2.9% and 2.8% respectively. India also witnessed a decrease in trade (3.0% for exports and 0.9% for imports), as did South Africa (4.3% for exports and 1.5% for imports).
Merchandise trade in US$ billion
G7 and BRICS
Seasonally adjusted data at current prices and exchange rates
Source: Statistics on International Trade Database, OECD