Double digit rates of decline not seen since 2007

The amount of trade flowing into and out of industrialised nations continued to plummet at the beginning of this year, continuing the decline that began in the last quarter of 2008, according to new figures.

The steep rate of decline already observed for Q4 2008 reached two-digit levels in Q1 2009 for almost all of the Group of Seven (G7) countries.

G7 exports fell 13.6% while imports were down 10.5% in the first quarter of 2009, compared with the previous quarter, according to data released by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Year-on-year exports dropped by 22.8% and imports fell 16.8% in the first quarter 2009.

German exports dropped 13.0% and imports by 9.5% in the first quarter 2009 compared with the previous quarter. Compared with a year ago the fall was even more pronounced with a drop by 23.3% for imports and 15.1% for exports.

In the US exports fell 11.5% and imports 11.8%. Compared with the previous year, exports declined by 15.8% and imports by 19.0%.

Such steep rates of decline have not been seen since the beginning of 2007.