Sunday, April 12, 2009

Except for China, Global Trade is still in "Free Fall"

The plunge in world economies that accelerated last fall is now reducing the volume of world trade at the fastest rate seen in decades. But February trade figures released this week by several countries provided tentative signs that the fall may be starting to slow. . . "World trade is falling much faster now than in 1929-30," two economists, Barry Eichengreen of the University of California and Kevin H. O'Rourke of Trinity College in Ireland, wrote in a paper released this week titled, "A Tale of Two Depressions." . . .

Economists see some evidence of rising demand in China, however. While its overall imports continued to weaken last month, China's large fiscal stimulus program appears to be starting to bolster imports from some of its neighbors. Its imports from Australia, the only country in the group not experiencing a substantial drop in exports, have soared.

"Korea and Taiwan also have rising exports to China," Mr. Eichengreen said in an interview. "It does indicate there is at least one source of increased demand."

China's own exports, however, fell 41 percent during the month, the most of any of the countries shown. . .


Floyd Norris, Trade is falling fast across the globe, NY Times, April. 10, 2009.

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