Global merchandise trade of G20 nations hit a record high in Q1 FY2021 (January-March) amid rapid growth. Exports and imports rose by 8pc and 8.1pc, respectively. Expect the UK, all G20 nations recorded positive economic growth in Q1, according to the latest update from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD. Weakness in the US dollar and the uptrend in commodity prices supported the recovery from the impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic.
Exports of commodities, both agricultural and metals rose in Q1. Metal prices are near levels last seen in 2011. Exports from top G20 exporters grew with Argentina’s exports up by 33.3pc, Australia 17.5pc, Brazil 14.7pc and South Africa 17.3pc gaining from the increase in commodity prices.
A rise in crude oil prices benefitted exporters in Canada, which rose by 10.8pc, Russia 13.1pc and Indonesia 12.4pc. Imports of energy products by G20 nations were also high in the quarter.
Post the first wave of the pandemic, there was a spike in demand for semiconductors and chips, which further led to a short supply and hike in prices. A rise in semiconductors trade benefitted merchandise trade from the US with exports and imports rising 5.7pc and 5.3pc, respectively.
Short supply of chip impacted the auto supply chains and in turn, slowed shipments of vehicles and auto components, thereby lowering French exports by 2.7pc and Mexico down by 0.4pc, but these are significantly below the group’s average.
Top trader China’s exports rose by 18.9pc while imports were up 19pc in Q1. Imports were led by metals and metal ores, integrated circuits and cereals. While its export grew on electronics including chips and vehicles, and textiles.
Exports from the EU rose by 3.8pc, while imports grew by 5pc. Among the G20 economies, UK was the only one to record negative trade growth with exports down by 5.7pc and imports down by 10.5pc in Q1. The slowdown can be attributed to stockpiling in Q4 ahead of Brexit.