G-20 Merchandise Trade Hit a Record High in the First Quarter

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The Group of 20 economies posted record-high merchandise trade in the first quarter, the OECD said, as a weaker U.S. dollar and rising commodity prices fueled a rebound that helped minimize damage to the world economy from the Covid pandemic.

Measured in seasonally adjusted current U.S. dollars, exports rose 8% in the first three months of 2021 from the final quarter of 2020 and imports increased 8.1%, the Paris-based organization said Tuesday.

The U.K. was the only G-20 member to miss out on the first-quarter trade surge because exports and imports had already jumped in the final months of 2020, when companies in Britain stockpiled ahead of the country exiting the European Union’s single market.

G-20 Merchandise Trade Hit a Record High in the First Quarter

In addition to higher commodity prices boosting the value of imports and exports, the OECD said there was also a “pandemic-related boom” in purchases of electronics as demand for semiconductors surged. While that lifted trade growth for the U.S., it slowed shipments of vehicles and weighed on exports for France and Mexico, the OECD said.

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