Like a photograph, numbers can also be worth a thousand words. With little need for lengthy comment, they have a way of bringing us back to reality. In this case, we are talking not percentages, but real values in U.S. $ billion. The Global Journal’s new “Numbers” section is produced in partnership with Global Trade Information Services Inc., the leading supplier of international merchandise trade data. Corporations, governments, large international banks, hedge funds and commodity trading companies in more than 50 countries use their trade data system to develop an enhanced understanding of global trade information. With offi ces in Beijing, Columbia, S.C. (USA), Geneva, Tokyo, and Washington, D.C., GTI currently publishes monthly offi cial government trade statistics that represent nearly 100 percent of total world trade. These fi gures are like a compass reminding us of the true north of international trade.
The last three years have been particularly sensitive for international trade. Certainties have fallen. Other evidence has appeared. China has roared into the export lead; with Hong Kong and South Korea they are the only countries among the Top 10 to have already exceeded their 2008 exports results, in the first nine months of 2010. Among others not included in the Top 10, Taiwan, Thailand and Australia also exported more in 2010 compared to 2008. To call that a re-bound is an understatement. In the Franco-German couple, it is clear who rules the euro zone, for France has had disappointing results compared to the strong German recovery. The United Kingdom is doing better than the euro-zone countries: UK euro-stat is +15% and UK HMRC is +18%. Russia has still not reach the Top 10 with a 14th during the fi rst nine months of 2010. India is still far away too.
On the import side, China is also experiencing strong growth again: in 2008, its imports were 50% of those of the U.S.; in the fi rst ten months of 2010, they were at 72%. But this time, China is in splendid isolation in having performed better than before the crisis.
On the Trade Balance side, China and Germany are contesting the benefi ts of international trade. Norway improved from 2009 to 2010 with a +7% showing strong resistance. Nigeria and Russia are more volatile and still largely positive. The United States remains at the bottom of the class. Europe is saved by Germany’s good showing.
At the end of these three years, China shows that it is the ‘economy of the moment’. China has not only survived, it has accelerated, followed by the United States, still competitive, and battling Germany. The road is now open for the Chinese currency to become a reserve currency. Europe, if it existed on a more political level, might pull ahead of China, but is this what the EU wants ?
Global Trade Imports
Global Trade exports
Valued in US $ billion // 2008–2009: Calendar Year // *2010: YTD September 2010