OECD Says Trade Slowdown May Be Harbinger of Coming Global Recession

By Justin Kirschner

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released its semiannual Economic Outlook, and the numbers are not pretty. It predicts that global trade in 2015 will grow at just 2%, a level that in the past has consistently coincided with a world economic slowdown. The OECD says the paltry trade numbers are due at least in part to shifts in emerging market economies, particularly China’s move away from manufacturing and infrastructure investment towards consumption and services. Indeed, China’s most recent trade numbers bear this out: exports fell 6.9% and imports fell 18.8% just in October. That, in turn, has sent commodity prices plummeting, hurting exporters such as Australia, Brazil, Canada and Russia. In presenting these new numbers, OECD Secretary General Angel GurrĂ­a put the onus squarely on the G-20, calling on it to address global trade and growth at its upcoming meeting in Antayla, Turkey.  Among other specific actions, Gurria urged governments to roll-back protectionism and adjust public spending towards investment in an effort to support short-term demand.