Worldwide trade grew 8.5 per cent in the last quarter of 2009, according to Capgemini’s Global Trade Flow Index. This follows a similar growth rate in the previous quarter.
Capgemini believes that this points to a similar level of growth of the indicator for world economic health into 2010, still driven by increasing domestic consumption levels to compensate for less Government stimulus.
In the fourth quarter of 2009 US total trade grew nine per cent aided by a relatively weak dollar to give the country its second straight quarter of trade growth.
China became the world’s biggest goods exporter in 2009, with a jump of 11 per cent in its exports in Q4 2009 compared with Q3 2009, while Brazil achieved a strong growth in the trade of goods driven by agro-exports.
German exports in the fourth quarter of 2009 rose 3.5 per cent on 2008, though household consumption declined, indicating that the recovery was export-driven.
France’s foreign trade rebounded by 3.08 per cent on 2008. However, full-year exports declined by around 20 per cent of its 2008 levels.
Capgemini expects that in the first quarter of this year growth of global trade levels will continue at similar levels. However, it warned that global economies might struggle to remain self-sustaining in the post-government stimulus era. In particular, China’s ambitious growth path might not be sustainable after the withdrawal of its crisis-mode policies.
Roy Lenders, vice president supply chain management at Capgemini Consulting, said: “Domestic consumption levels are still not strong in most developed economies which is a clear signal that the world economy is not yet able to stand on its own feet without the aid of government stimulus plans. The big question for 2010 will be whether domestic consumption will start growing again fast enough to counter declining government stimulus volumes.”