28/05/2019 - Growth in G20 international merchandise trade, seasonally adjusted and expressed in current US dollars, remained weak in the first quarter of 2019. G20 exports rose marginally by 0.4% quarter‑on‑quarter while imports fell by 1.2%. Compared to the third quarter of 2018, when the first round of new tariff measures affecting US-China trade came into effect, G20 exports are down by 0.8% and imports by 2.7%.
Imports contracted in the United States (by minus 1.9%) in the first quarter of 2019, with US imports from China falling by 12% (according to preliminary data), the largest fall on record. Imports also continued to contract in China (by minus 0.5%, following the previous quarter’s contraction of minus 6.0%). Although exports were up 3.9% in China and 0.7% in the United States, they remain below recent highs.
Through closely integrated supply chains, international trade in other Asian economies has also been impacted by rising US-China trade tensions, as have exchange rates with the US dollar, with exports and imports contracting significantly in Indonesia (minus 4.3% and minus 15.3% respectively), Japan (minus 2.3% and minus 4.7%) and Korea (minus 7.1% and minus 7.7%). Non‑G20 economies in the region also experienced significant falls in trade.
In other G20 economies, only the United Kingdom recorded strong growth in exports (6.2%) and imports (5.0%) in part reflecting firm’s stockpiling and increasing international trade activity due to Brexit uncertainty.
In the remaining G20 economies, exports grew moderately in Australia (1.1%), Mexico (1.1%), the EU 28 (1.0%), Germany (0.9%), India (0.8%) and France (0.7%) and imports grew strongly in Turkey (5.3%) and Russia (3.5%)..