Surge in commodity prices: G20 merchandise trade at new high in Q1
G20 exports rise 3.6% quarter-on-quarter to $4.6T in January-March, imports up 5.8% to $4.8T
Building from a six-quarter rise, international merchandise trade for the G20 hit a new high with $9.4 trillion in the first quarter of this year, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said on Tuesday.
G20 exports increased 3.6% quarter-on-quarter to $4.6 trillion in January-March, while imports climbed 5.8% to $4.8 trillion, data showed.
The growth was driven by surging commodity prices amid Russia's war on Ukraine and stringent COVID-19 containment measures in East Asia, the Paris-based group said in a statement.
Due to chip shortages weighing on shipments of vehicles and parts, Japanese exports rose 0.8%, while energy and raw material prices boosted imports 7.0% from the previous three months.
Electronics, COVID-19 testing kits and e‑cars continued to fuel exports growth from Korea, an increase of 3.8% from the October-December period, while energy products drove an increase in imports by 6.1% in January-March.
Exports from China expanded 4.7%, led by steel and plastic products as well as electronics, but Chinese imports were marginally up 0.3%, as energy purchases were partially offset by a decline in imports of iron ores.
Import growth accelerated across most economies in Europe due to energy bills. Exports and imports rose 3.0% and 5.0%, respectively, in the EU.
As geopolitical tensions cut shipments of machinery and chemicals, German exports declined 0.1%, while imports increased 3.0%. Similarly, exports from the UK contracted 1.6%, but imports soared 18.8% due to machinery, transport equipment and energy.
Leading commodity exporters in the G20 area saw significant rises in exports as Australia's exports grew 7.8% thanks to cereals, coal and metals, Argentina's 11.5% and Brazil's 20.2%.