In value terms and at current prices, merchandise exports increased by 1.1% in the first quarter of 2002 compared with the fourth quarter of 2001 while imports fell by 0.4%. On a year-on-year basis, trade was still sharply lower. Compared with the first three months of the previous year, exports in the first quarter of 2002 were down 8.9% and imports dropped 11.0%.
In volume terms, trade fell both on a quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year basis, with G7 exports down 5.8% from a year earlier compared with a fall of 7.0% in the final quarter of 2001, and imports down 5.1% compared with a 4.5% drop the previous quarter. But the quarter-on-quarter figures showed stabilising negative growth, with exports down 2.3% and imports falling 3.7%.
The United States suffered the sharpest fall in export growth in volume terms, down 12.7% from a year earlier, while imports dropped 5.8%. France saw the heaviest fall in import volume, down 11.2%, with exports in volume terms down 4.4%. Japan’s export and import volume fell less sharply, with export volume down 2.9% from a year earlier and imports down 5.6%. Compared with the previous quarter, exports edged up 0.2% in volume terms while imports fell 5.4%.
©OECD Observer No 233, August 2002