Shrinking Trade Magnifying Global Recession

February 11, 2009

Canadian and U.S. trade figures released today add to the picture of plunging two-way international commerce.  Canadian merchandise exports fell 9.7% between November and December, producing Canada’s first deficit since March 1976 during Pierre Trudeau’s first stint as prime minister.  Such was the largest monthly export drop in over 26 years. Exports of industrial goods and materials and energy goods each dropped over 17%. Canadian imports declined 5.7% on the month.

U.S. exports of goods and services declined 6.0% from November, while imports dropped 5.5%.  For 2008 as a whole, exports rose 12.0%, and imports increased 7.4%.

Chinese exports and imports declined by 17.4% and 21.5% in the year to December. Taiwanese and South Korean exports dropped 44% and 33% from a year ago.

Japanese exports sank 13.9% in December and over 35% between September and December.  Imports fell 16.7% in the final month of 2008 and by a third over the final three months of the year.

British merchandise exports managed to edge 0.3% higher in December, which combined with a 2.5% drop in imports sliced the trade deficit by 9.2% to its smallest size in 18 months.

German exports fell 3.7% in December after monthly declines of 10.8% in November and 0.6% in October.  Exports were 7.7% lower than a year earlier. Imports decreased 13% between September and December. In commerce with members of the EU that do not use the euro, German exports and imports sank 16.6% and 6.9% between November and December.

These figures depict the brave new world if opponents of globalization had their way and provide a portent of what will only get worse if governments impose protectionist trade barriers and promote buy-local nationalistic campaigns.

Copyright 2009 Larry Greenberg. All rights reserved. No secondary distribution without express permission.

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