Asia’s Export Slump Raises Global Slowdown Fears
Trade-war casualties are looking more like global slowdown victims.
Exports from India and Indonesia slumped more than economists forecast in June, cementing fears that nations beyond China and the U.S. are suffering from tariff battles. The fresh numbers followed China’s weak trade report on Friday. The bad news from Asia this week may not be over: Manufacturing hubs Singapore and Japan are also likely to report declines in exports.
The data confirm what some economists have warned about for 18 months: The tariff-slapping pain will spread, leaving even countries with large populations like India and Indonesia at risk. With Asia accounting for more than 60% of world economic growth, there’s little doubt the global outlook is getting gloomier:
- Shipments from India fell the most in more than three years in June, dropping 9.7% from a year earlier, while imports declined 9.1%. Some weakness was tied to trade tensions after the U.S. terminated beneficial trade status for India’s exports effective June 5, according to Bloomberg Economics.
- In Indonesia, exports dropped 9%, with officials saying a recovery will be challenging given all the uncertainty.
- Data last week showed shipments from China fell 1.3% and imports shrank a more-than-expected 7.3%, weighing on an economy that’s already growing at its slowest pace in almost three decades.
- Nomura Holdings Inc.’s leading index of Asian exports shows a downturn in August, suggesting the region’s exports will remain in the doldrums.
- Revisions to the IMF’s global economic forecasts are due out in a week or so, acting managing director David Lipton told Bloomberg TV on Tuesday. The fund still sees a sluggish outlook because “investment is slow and trade growth in particular is slow,’’ he says.
Charting the Trade War
If U.S. President Donald Trump wants to throw another broadside at the European Union over trade, figures on Tuesday give him reason. EU exports to the U.S. jumped more than 20 billion euros in the first five months of the year, and the goods trade surplus continued to widen. It's up 12% year-on-year in the January-May period.
Today’s Must Reads
- WTO decision soon | Europe expects the Geneva-based arbiter of trade disputes will let the U.S. hit the EU with $5 billion to $7 billion in tariffs in a long-running Airbus-Boeing case.
- Deep divisions | Japan and South Korea appear to be headed for a protracted dispute over Japanese export restrictions on materials vital to its neighbor’s technology industry.
- Talking again | U.S. and Chinese negotiators may meet in Beijing again if talks by phone scheduled for this week prove productive, while Trump claims “China wants to make a deal.’’
- German confidence | Investor confidence in the outlook for Europe’s largest economy fell for a third month as persistent global trade tensions weigh on growth momentum.
- Less firepower | Central bankers from Tokyo to Frankfurt are under pressure to ease monetary policy, but with less ammunition to fight the next downturn, they may need help.
- India’s trade weakness | A sharp drop in exports shows the early, indirect effect of the global slowdown.
- Chinese lending slump | Further deceleration in economic growth is coming despite upside data surprises.
- July 17: Singapore non-oil domestic exports
- July 18: Japanese and Swiss trade data
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