The nominal dollar value of merchandise trade plunged in the second quarter

The nominal dollar value of merchandise trade plunged in the second quarter

World merchandise trade volumes slumped by 14.3% in the second quarter of the year, as Covid-19 containment measures affected economies around the world, according to new figures from the World Trade Organization (WTO).

WTO statistics show the year-on-year contraction is sharper than the 10.2% drop recorded during the financial crisis between the third quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009. It is also steeper than the prior quarter, which recorded a fall in trade of 3%.

The steepest declines were recorded in Europe (-21%) and North America (-20%) while Asia was relatively less affected (-7%).

The nominal dollar value of merchandise trade also plunged in the second quarter, falling by 21% year-on-year. In comparison, the decline in merchandise trade values during the financial crisis was deeper with a 33% drop recorded in the second quarter of 2009.

In April, the dollar value of world merchandise trade fell 23% year-on-year, and 26% in May, before easing to a 10% contraction in June as countries in Europe started to relax lockdown measures while some Asian economies saw a modest rebound.

In July, merchandise trade remained weakened at -9%. The monthly estimates are based on data from 72 economies accounting for 92% of global merchandise trade.