G20 merchandise trade fell for the first time in two years in value terms in Q3 2022, retreating from recent high levels in Q2 2022 (Charts 1 and 2). Measured in current US dollars, exports and imports contracted 1.3% and 1.1%, respectively, as global demand began to slow and prices for most commodities softened. away from their peaks.
Falling oil prices weakened North American merchandise exports in the third quarter of 2022, with the United States and Mexico recording positive but slower growth than in previous quarters. In the European Union, merchandise exports and imports contracted by 1.5% and 0.7%, respectively. In the UK, exports increased by 0.8%, while imports fell sharply by 9.9%. Merchandise trade remained weak in East Asia, despite increased sales of electronics and machinery. Exports fell 0.3% in Japan and 1.0% in Korea, but recovered 0.7% in China. After several quarters of strong growth, major G20 commodity traders recorded a decline in their merchandise exports, partly reflecting slowing demand and falling prices.
G20 services trade slowed further in the third quarter of 2022, measured in current US dollars (Charts 1 and 2). Export growth is estimated to have stabilized at 0.3% and imports increased by 1.7%. This compares to higher rates recorded in the second quarter of 2022 (1.3% and 2.3%, respectively), as falling shipping costs weighed on the value of transport services in many G20 economies. As with goods, growth in services trade has slowed markedly in North America. Across Europe, the largest service traders saw declining exports and rising imports. For the first time since the second quarter of 2020, France recorded a decline in services exports, while rising outbound travel spending boosted imports. German exports also fell, reflecting a drop in intellectual services, telecommunications and other business services, while imports rose. In the United Kingdom, exports and imports of services each fell by 3.3%. In Japan, exports stabilized and imports soared, fueled by travel. In China, services exports rebounded strongly, driven by higher sales of business, IT and intellectual property services, while imports fell 0.4%.