The total volume of exports of the G20 countries in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the fourth quarter of 2020 increased by 8%, to $ 4.01 trillion, imports – by 8.1%, to $ 3.97 trillion, the OECD reported. In the fourth quarter, the growth of these indicators over the previous period amounted to 7.5% and 7.2%, respectively. The growth of trade in the first quarter of this year was facilitated, among other things, by the increase in prices for agricultural raw materials and oils (more than 10%). As a result, the greatest growth was recorded by such suppliers as Argentina (by 33.3%), Australia (17.5%), Brazil (14.7%) and South Africa (17.3%). Oil prices in the first quarter also increased significantly (by 35%), which affected the increase in exports of Canada (by 10.8%), Russia (13.1%), Indonesia (12.4%).
In the United States, exports grew by 5.7%, imports – by 5.3%. In China – by 18.9% and 19%, respectively (the growth in imports was due to the import of metals, grain and semiconductors). For the EU countries, total exports increased by 3.8%, imports – by 5%. The UK turned out to be the only G20 country where trade turnover decreased in the first quarter: exports fell by 5.7%, imports – by 10.5% (the decline is explained by both covid restrictions and the base effect – at the end of last year, British companies increased purchases in anticipation of leaving the EU).
The turnover of services in the G20 countries is expected to recover more slowly than trade in goods – in this area, the negative effect of restrictions is more noticeable. The total export of services grew by 4.4%, to $ 1.08 trillion, imports – by 2.5%, to $ 958 billion. The growth is noted in the transport sector, in digital and financial services. Exports of services grew the most in China (plus 22.7%) and Turkey (plus 13.1%). In Russia, exports of services in the first quarter grew by 6%, while imports fell by 3.3%.
Note that GDP growth rates in economically developed countries in the first quarter were weaker than at the end of last year. Average GDP growth across OECD countries slowed to 0.3% in the first quarter of 2021 from 1% in the fourth quarter of 2020. On an annualized basis, the dynamics of GDP in OECD countries remained negative – minus 0.8% after minus 2.9% in the fourth quarter. Recall that Russian GDP in the first quarter of 2021 fell by 1.3% on an annualized basis after falling by 1.8% a quarter earlier.