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The global financial crisis: trying to understand the global trade downturn and recovery

Author

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  • Anderton, Robert
  • Tewolde, Tadios

Abstract

This paper aims to shed light on why the downturn in global trade during the intensification of the financial crisis in 2008Q4-2009Q1 was so severe and synchronized across the world, and also examines the subsequent recovery in global trade during 2009Q2-2010Q1. The paper finds that a structural imports function which captures the different and time-varying importintensities of the components of total final expenditure can explain the sharp decline in global imports of goods and services. By contrast, a specification based on aggregate total expenditure can not fully capture the global trade downturn. In particular, panel estimates for a large number of OECD countries suggest that the high import-intensity of exports at the country-level can explain a significant proportion of the decline in world imports during the crisis, while declines in the highly import-intensive expenditure category of investment also contributed to the remaining fall in global trade. At the same time, the high and rising import-intensity of exports also reflects and captures the rapid growth in “vertical specialisation”, suggesting that widespread global production chains may have amplified the downturn in world trade and partly explains its high-degree of synchronisation across the globe. In addition, the estimates find that stockbuilding, business confidence and credit conditions also played a role in the global trade downturn. Meanwhile, the global trade recovery (2009Q2-2010Q1) can only be partially explained by differential elasticities for the components of demand (although the results confirm that the upturn in OECD imports was also driven by strong export growth and the associated reactivation of global production chains, as well as the recovery in stockbuilding and the fiscal stimulus). This may be due in part to the many policy measures that were implemented to boost global trade at that time and which can not be captured by the specification. JEL Classification: E0, F01, F10, F15, F17

Suggested Citation

  • Anderton, Robert & Tewolde, Tadios, 2011. "The global financial crisis: trying to understand the global trade downturn and recovery," Working Paper Series 1370, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20111370
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    File URL: https://www.ecb.europa.eu//pub/pdf/scpwps/ecbwp1370.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. R. Anderton & M. Desai, 1988. "Modelling Manufacturing Imports," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 123(1), pages 80-86, February.
    2. Bussière, Matthieu & Chudik, Alexander & Sestieri, Giulia, 2009. "Modelling global trade flows: results from a GVAR model," Working Paper Series 1087, European Central Bank.
    3. Landesmann, Michael & Snell, Andrew, 1989. "The Consequences of Mrs. Thatcher for U.K. Manufacturing Exports," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(394), pages 1-27, March.
    4. Amador, João & Cabral, Sónia, 2009. "Vertical specialization across the world: A relative measure," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 267-280, December.
    5. Calista Cheung & Stéphanie Guichard, 2009. "Understanding the World Trade Collapse," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 729, OECD Publishing.
    6. Luca Agnello & Jacopo Cimadomo, 2012. "Discretionary Fiscal Policies over the Cycle: New Evidence Based on the ESCB Disaggregated Approach," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 8(2), pages 43-85, June.
    7. Sébastien Miroudot & Alexandros Ragoussis, 2009. "Vertical Trade, Trade Costs and FDI," OECD Trade Policy Papers 89, OECD Publishing.
    8. Bricongne, Jean-Charles & Fontagné, Lionel & Gaulier, Guillaume & Taglioni, Daria & Vicard, Vincent, 2012. "Firms and the global crisis: French exports in the turmoil," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, pages 134-146.
    9. Bricongne, Jean-Charles & Fontagné, Lionel & Gaulier, Guillaume & Taglioni, Daria & Vicard, Vincent, 2012. "Firms and the global crisis: French exports in the turmoil," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, pages 134-146.
    10. 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, pages 117-133.
    11. Anne-Célia Disdier & Lionel Fontagné, 2010. "Trade impact of European measures on GMOs condemned by the WTO panel," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 146(3), pages 495-514, September.
    12. Nigel Pain & Annabelle Mourougane & Franck Sédillot & Laurence Le Fouler, 2005. "The New OECD International Trade Model," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 440, OECD Publishing.
    13. David Haugh & Annabelle Mourougane & Olivier Chatal, 2010. "The Automobile Industry in and Beyond the Crisis," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 745, OECD Publishing.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:ecr:col016:40117 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ampudia, Miguel & van Vlokhoven, Has & Żochowski, Dawid, 2016. "Financial fragility of euro area households," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 250-262.
    3. Styliani Christodoulopoulou & Oļegs Tkačevs, 2016. "Measuring the effectiveness of cost and price competitiveness in external rebalancing of euro area countries: What do alternative HCIs tell us?," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, pages 487-531.
    4. Anderton, Robert & Aranki, Ted & Bonthuis, Boele & Jarvis, Valerie, 2014. "Disaggregating Okun's law: decomposing the impact of the expenditure components of GDP on euro area unemployment," Working Paper Series 1747, European Central Bank.
    5. Jos Jansen & Ad Stokman, 2011. "International Business Cycle Comovement: Trade and Foreign Direct Investment," DNB Working Papers 319, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    6. -, 2016. "Horizons 2030: Equality at the centre of sustainable development. Summary," Documentos de posición del período de sesiones de la Comisión 40117, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    7. Styliani Christodoulopoulou & Oļegs Tkačevs, 2016. "Measuring the effectiveness of cost and price competitiveness in external rebalancing of euro area countries: What do alternative HCIs tell us?," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, pages 487-531.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    financial crisis; forecasting; globalisation; global trade downturn and recovery; import-intensity of components of total final expenditure; synchronisation; timevarying parameters; vertical specialisation;

    JEL classification:

    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General
    • F01 - International Economics - - General - - - Global Outlook
    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F17 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Forecasting and Simulation

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