Trade fall bottoms?

The fall in merchandise trade in OECD countries levelled off in the first quarter of 2002 after nine months of accelerating decline, but remained at a low level compared with last year.

In value terms and at current prices, merchandise exports increased by 1.1% in the first quarter of 2002 compared with the fourth quarter of 2001 while imports fell by 0.4%. On a year-on-year basis, trade was still sharply lower. Compared with the first three months of the previous year, exports in the first quarter of 2002 were down 8.9% and imports dropped 11.0%.

In volume terms, trade fell both on a quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year basis, with G7 exports down 5.8% from a year earlier compared with a fall of 7.0% in the final quarter of 2001, and imports down 5.1% compared with a 4.5% drop the previous quarter. But the quarter-on-quarter figures showed stabilising negative growth, with exports down 2.3% and imports falling 3.7%.

The United States suffered the sharpest fall in export growth in volume terms, down 12.7% from a year earlier, while imports dropped 5.8%. France saw the heaviest fall in import volume, down 11.2%, with exports in volume terms down 4.4%. Japan’s export and import volume fell less sharply, with export volume down 2.9% from a year earlier and imports down 5.6%. Compared with the previous quarter, exports edged up 0.2% in volume terms while imports fell 5.4%.

©OECD Observer No 233, August 2002

Economic data

GDP growth: -1.8% Q1 2020/Q4 2019
Consumer price inflation: 0.9% Apr 2020 annual
Trade (G20): -4.3% exp, -3.9% imp, Q1 2020/Q4 2019
Unemployment: 8.4% Apr 2020
Last update: 9 July 2020

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