International trade statistics: trends in first quarter 2019

oecd stats

(Credit: OECD)

This article is brought to you in association with OECD.


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%)..

G20 international merchandise trade growth remains weak in first quarter 2019‌‌

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