Daily Pulse

Trade off

Paddy Hirsch Aug 31, 2011

Trade in America is slowing. A report from the OECD today says the growth we saw in both imports and exports earlier this year is settling back again. You can almost hear the gears of the economy grinding to a halt. That bad news pushes the Marketplace Index down another point today.

The report says import growth into the U.S. slowed to 3 percent (versus 11.1 percent in the previous quarter) and export growth dropped to 2.6 percent (versus 5.6 percent in the previous quarter).

That’s not good news, and it plays to the hands of those in the FOMC that want to stimulate the economy. But it’s not terrible, either: at least imports and exports are still growing. And the moves aren’t as dramatic as in other parts of the globe. In China import growth plunged to 0.7 percent, the slowest since the first quarter of 2009, from 11.1 percent, exports surged 10 percent, up from 2.9 percent in the first three months of the year.

Merchandise trade growth slowed across major economies in the second quarter of 2011, the report said. Total imports of G7 and BRICS countries grew by only 1.1 percent in the second quarter compared to 10.1 percent in the previous quarter. Total export growth slowed to 1.9 percent, compared to 7.7 percent in the previous quarter.

Compared to the first quarter, both import and export growth rates slowed down in all G7 and BRICS countries, except in Brazil, where imports increased strongly by 11.2 percent (versus 5.7 percent in the previous quarter) and in China.

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