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Explaining the Slowdown in Global Trade

Author

Listed:
  • Jarkko Jaaskela

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

  • Thomas Mathews

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

Abstract

Following the global financial crisis, global trade contracted sharply and, after an initial recovery, grew at an unusually slow pace relative to global GDP. This article reviews cyclical and structural explanations for this phenomenon, and finds econometric evidence that cyclical factors – namely shifts in the composition of aggregate demand toward less import-intensive components and heightened economic uncertainty – can explain most of the slowdown in trade in a panel of advanced economies. Although the slowdown in aggregate global trade is well explained by the model used, the results vary by country. For Australia, the model performed well until 2012, after which it over-predicted import growth, most likely because it did not adequately capture the import intensity of mining investment and resource exports.

Suggested Citation

  • Jarkko Jaaskela & Thomas Mathews, 2015. "Explaining the Slowdown in Global Trade," RBA Bulletin (Print copy discontinued), Reserve Bank of Australia, pages 39-46, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:rba:rbabul:sep2015-05
    as

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    File URL: https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2015/sep/pdf/bu-0915-5.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Cristina Constantinescu & Aaditya Mattoo & Michele Ruta, 2020. "The Global Trade Slowdown: Cyclical or Structural?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 34(1), pages 121-142.
    2. Chor, Davin & Manova, Kalina, 2012. "Off the cliff and back? Credit conditions and international trade during the global financial crisis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 117-133.
    3. Matthieu Bussière & Giovanni Callegari & Fabio Ghironi & Giulia Sestieri & Norihiko Yamano, 2013. "Estimating Trade Elasticities: Demand Composition and the Trade Collapse of 2008-2009," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 118-151, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rod Tyers & Yixiao Zhou, 2018. "Lost Inflation?," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 18-01, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    2. Aqib Aslam & Emine Boz & Eugenio Cerutti & Marcos Poplawski-Ribeiro & Petia Topalova, 2018. "The Slowdown in Global Trade: A Symptom of a Weak Recovery?," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 66(3), pages 440-479, September.
    3. Álvarez López, M.ª Elisa & Vega Crespo, Josefa, 2017. "La fortaleza competitiva de la economía española/The Competitive Strength of the Spanish Economy," Estudios de Economia Aplicada, Estudios de Economia Aplicada, vol. 35, pages 7-34, Enero.
    4. Jaime Martínez-Martín, 2016. "Breaking down world trade elasticities: a panel ECM approach," Working Papers 1614, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.

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