G20 countries see lackluster trade: OECD

Exports by the bloc’s members were up a meager 0.4% in Q1, while imports slid by 1.2%. The organization points out the negative effects of the USA-China trade war.

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São Paulo – The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) reported this Tuesday (28) that international trade in goods was weak for G20 member countries during Q1. The Paris-based entity said in a report that exports by those countries edged up by just 0.4% quarter-on-quarter, while imports were down 1.2%.

The OECD points out the negative effects of escalating tariffs in USA-China trade – the so-called trade war. G20 countries’ exports were down 0.8% in Q1 from Q4 2018 – when the first set of tariffs was put in place – and imports declined by 2.7%.

The figures were released a month ahead of the G20 Summit, set to take place June 28 and 29 in Osaka, Japan. The bloc comprises the 19 biggest economies in the world plus the European Union.

According to the OECD, United States imports dropped by 1.9% in Q1, with imports from China plummeting by 12% – the sharpest drop on record.

The USA-China trade war is impacting trade in other Asian countries. Q1 saw a relevant drop in exports and imports in Indonesia, Japan and South Korea.

The OECD said the only G20 country to see a major hike in foreign trade operations was the United Kingdom, where exports climbed 6.2% and imports climbed 5% in Q1. This is imputed to inventory building and a pickup in trade in the face of uncertainty surrounding Brexit – the country’s exit from the European Union, which was approved in a referendum but is yet to come to pass.

The organization also pointed out moderate growth in exports from Australia, Mexico and the EU, and a significant increment in imports to Turkey and Russia.

Brazil saw both exports and imports drop 6.4%. The OECD did not release data on Saudi Arabia, the only Arab country in the G20.

Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

Gioia Forster/DPA/AFP

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