G20 merchandise trade continues slump on currency and trade tensions

PARIS, Merchandise trade levels in the twenty richest global nations (G20) continued to slump in the third quarter, with export and import levels reaching two-year lows, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said on Thursday.

It its latest report for the June-September quarter, the OECD indicated that G20 exports contracted by 0.7 percent while imports fell by 0.9 percent.

The report said that a nearly 20 percent drop in oil prices and currency depreciations against the US dollar largely contributed to the decline.

But trade between the US and China also slumped because of ongoing trade tensions and threats of increasing tariff barriers between the largest and second-largest world economies.

“Trade remained weak across all G20 regions in the third quarter of 2019. The slowdown was particularly pronounced in the European Union, with exports contracting by 1.8 percent and imports by 0.4 percent,” the Paris-based economic policy body said.

In particular, exports and imports fell 3.6 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively, in France, and 0.4 percent and 1.8 percent respectively, in Germany.

In Italy, trade fell for the sixth straight quarter, with exports and imports decreasing by 1.2 percent and 1.0 percent in the third quarter of 2019.

Meanwhile, British exports contracted 3.3 percent and imports declined 1.6 percent, largely due to Brexit fears and a drop in the value of Sterling.

In North America, exports from the United States fell marginally, by 0.2 percent, while imports decreased by 0.7 percent and US exports to China remain significantly below the levels seen before the recent bilateral trade tensions, despite a pick-up in the second quarter. US imports from China fell 2.1 percent in the quarter.

The G20 group includes: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

Source: Kuwait News Agency