29/11/2016 - Growth in G20 total international merchandise trade, seasonally adjusted and expressed in current US dollars, slowed in the third quarter of 2016. G20 exports fell marginally, by 0.1%, compared to a growth of 1.6% in the previous quarter. Growth in imports slowed to 0.6%, compared to 1.9% in the previous quarter. Merchandise trade levels remain around 10% below their Q2 2008 pre-crisis levels.
G20 export growth in Q3 2016 however masks regional differences. Exports grew by around 4% in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, but fell in most Asian and European G20 economies.
Exports fell in China (by 2.9%, for the third consecutive quarter), India (by 1.5%), Indonesia (by 3.7%) and Korea (by 0.5%), but rose strongly in Japan (by 4.1%, the third consecutive quarter of growth). Exports also fell (by 1.0%) in the European Union as a whole, including in France and Germany, but grew for the fourth consecutive quarter in Italy, albeit at a slower rate. Exports also contracted in the United Kingdom (by 4.3%), partly reflecting Sterling’s depreciation.
The G20 economies with the highest growth in imports in Q3 2016 were India (4.3%), Russia (4.5%) and South Africa (4.8%), while the largest contractions occurred in Argentina (5.0%), Indonesia (4.3%) and Turkey (9.9%). Exports also fell strongly in Turkey (by 9.5%).
The sluggishness of G20 exports and imports over the last two years clearly reflects downward trends in crude oil prices, although over the third quarter of 2016, crude oil prices have remained relatively stable, fluctuating at around US$45 a barrel.