G-20 leaders get new lesson in protectionist fallout on trade

November 28, 2018 - Global goods trade barely grew in the third quarter, giving Group of 20 leaders meeting this week further evidence of how tensions between the U.S. and China are already hurting the global economy.

Trade in goods by value among G-20 nations grew only “marginally” in the period after a contraction in the previous three months, the OECD said on Wednesday. The fact there was any increase at all was only thanks to rising oil prices.

The warning of the impact of protectionism comes as leaders from the world’s richest economies prepare for a showdown on trade at a summit in Buenos Aires.

“Excluding large oil exporters, such as Russia and Saudi Arabia, G-20 trade was flat suggesting that the steady expansion seen over the last two years may have stalled as recent protectionist measures begin to bite,” the OECD said.

The OECD said last week that things could get much worse for the global economy if countries don’t step back from the brink of a trade war. The combination of tariffs on all U.S.-China trade combined with added uncertainty would strip 0.8 percent off global GDP in 2021, according to OECD calculations.

In its report Wednesday, the OECD said U.S. exports fell 1.7 percent in the third quarter. A gain in Chinese exports was boosted by a one-off sale of an oil platform and still failed to offset a decline in the second quarter.

Source: Bloomberg