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World trade in goods plunged by 12% in April from March, after having already dropped 2.4% in March from February. This plunge…was by far the largest month-to-month drop in the history of the data going back to 2000. Compared to April last year, the index was down 16.2%.
U.S. Exports and Imports
In the U.S. trade took an even bigger hit, with exports of goods collapsing 25% in April from March and 30% year-over-year… Imports plunged 13.6% in April from March, and 20.2% year-over-year…The gap between the two lines in the chart below (imports minus exports) is the U.S. trade deficit:
The continued deterioration in May in the U.S. is a harbinger of what the trade data for the rest of the world…will look like next month.
In the Eurozone, exports in April…collapsed by 30.5% year-over-year, and imports by 26.7%, both to the lowest levels in the data going back to 2000.
China’s fake data
China’s data has always been whatever the government wants the world to think it is but the pandemic elevated China’s data to new and unprecedented levels of deep-fake status all around.
…In China, based on the official data released by the Chinese government and used by the CPB, neither imports nor exports ever really got hit this year at all. This contradicts absolutely everything else we know about trade with China, including what major container carriers have said, and how they have slashed capacity to and from China as trade between China and the rest of the world spiraled down but, miraculously, it doesn’t show up in China’s official data.
With imports and exports, however, cheating invariably comes to light: China’s exports show up as imports by other countries, and China’s imports are other countries’ exports. When global trade…[drops dramatically] but only China’s imports and exports pretend nothing has happened, then we have to wonder who exactly was China trading with, the Martians?
…Given that China’s import and export data were fake during the pandemic, and should have been a lot lower, the overall World Trade Monitor, which includes China’s fake data – and with China being a massive factor in global trade – should have been a lot lower in reality as well.
Editor’s Note: The original article by Wolf Richter has been edited ([ ]) and abridged (…) above for the sake of clarity and brevity to ensure a fast and easy read. The author’s views and conclusions are unaltered and no personal comments have been included to maintain the integrity of the original article. Furthermore, the views, conclusions and any recommendations offered in this article are not to be construed as an endorsement of such by the editor. Also note that this complete paragraph must be included in any re-posting to avoid copyright infringement.
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