Global trade suffers further slump as OECD issues growth plea
Global trade slumped again at the end of last year, with exports dropping for the sixth consecutive quarter and imports down for the seventh quarter in a row, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has reported.
In a note published yesterday, the Paris-based body said that for 2015, exports across the G20 countries plummeted by 11.3%, while imports dropped even more, by 13%.
Across the big oil exporters, export orders fell significantly in the final three months of last year, including Canada, by 5.4%, Russia by 2.2% and Saudi Arabia, reflecting the double whammy of falling oil prices and an appreciating US dollar.
The OECD said that in both South Africa and Brazil, imports contracted by 6.2% and 9.2% respectively to around their lowest levels in six years.
The think tank has already more than doubled its forecast for Brazil's recession this year, projecting it will be even worse than in 2015.
The country's economy is predicted to shrink by 4% this year after a 3.8% recession in 2015.
Internationally, the import side doesn't fare much better.
Imports in India slumped by 8.1% in the final quarter of last year and in the United States, the world's biggest economy, imports fell for the sixth straight quarter, by 2.7%, with exports also falling for the second quarter by 3.5%.
Among the G20 economies, only China and Turkey saw their exports grow, by 0.3% and 3.3% respectively, while imports also grew in both countries.
"For the year 2015 as a whole, G20 exports fell by 11.3% while imports fell by 13%," the OECD commented.
"Declines in both imports and exports were recorded in all G20 economies in 2015.
"Saudi Arabia recorded the largest fall in exports over the period, while Russia recorded the largest fall in imports, in both cases by more than 35%."
Exports and imports in the EU fell for a sixth consecutive quarter, by 1% and 1.4% respectively. Exports fell in France, Germany and the UK, while they remained unchanged in Italy.
Last week the OECD called on the world's 20 biggest economies to step up the slowing pace of reforms to boost economic growth, amid slowing trade and weak investment.