OECD: G20 merchandise trade declined in Q2 2023, and services trade appears to have slowed

G20 merchandise trade contracted in value terms in Q2 2023, compared to the previous quarter and measured in current US dollars (Figure 1 and 2). Exports and imports fell by 3.1 % and 2.0 %, respectively, reflecting subdued global demand and decreasing commodity prices, notably for energy. Falling energy prices contributed to reduced trade in value terms in North America. Exports and imports contracted by 5.7 % and 2.0 % in the United States, while Canadian exports fell by 3.7 % and imports remained flat. In the European Union, merchandise exports decreased in Germany and Italy, but grew at a solid, though slowing, pace in France driven by transport equipment, in particular aeronautics. EU imports contracted by 1.2 %, again mainly due to lower energy prices. Exports increased by 2.1 % in the United Kingdom, reflecting strong sales of machinery and transport equipment. Merchandise trade contracted sharply in East Asia. Exports dropped by 5.7 % in China, partly due to lower consumer electronics sales. Imports fell markedly in Japan (down by 8.1 %) and Korea (down by 7.9 %) due to reduced energy import expenses. Falling commodity prices pushed down exports in Australia and Indonesia.

Preliminary estimates[1] point to a marked slowdown in G20 services trade in Q2 2023 compared to Q1 2023, measured in current US dollars (Figure 1 and 2). Exports and imports are estimated to have grown at 0.2 % and minus 0.6 % in Q2 2023, respectively, following the strong growth of 4.5 % and 8.8 % recorded in Q1 2023. Services exports grew by 1.0 % in the United States, while imports decreased by 1.3 %, primarily due to lower expenditure on transport and travel. In Canada, travel and business services boosted exports. In Germany, travel and business services drove a decline in exports (down by 1.7 %) while pushing imports up by 1.0 %. French imports contracted sharply (down 7.2 %) driven by lower transport and travel expenditures. In the United Kingdom, services exports decreased by 1.0%, while imports rose by 2.9 % due to higher purchases of financial, intellectual property and business services. By contrast, services trade expanded markedly in Australia and Korea. In Australia, the main drivers of export growth were travel and passenger transport, while travel, finance and ICT drove up exports in Korea. Services imports dropped by 4.2 % in Japan, reflecting lower expenditures on business services, while exports increased slightly. Declining transport receipts drove services exports down in China (minus 4.4 %), while imports declined by 1.4 %.