By Dow Jones Business News, October 24, 2013, 08:34:00 AM EDT
By Paul Hannon
The volume of world trade fell in August after a sharp rise in July, an indication that the global economy remains
weak and a sustained recovery is some way off.
In its monthly report, the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, also known as the CPB, Thursday said the
volume of exports and imports fell 0.8% from July, having risen by 1.8% in that month.
The figures showed a division between developed and developing economies. While exports from developing economies
fell, those from developed economies rose.
The CPB's figures are watched closely by policy makers, including a number of central banks, because they provide the
earliest available measure of global trade and an indication of how the global economy is faring.
The CPB's August trade figures appear to validate concerns expressed by leaders from the Group of 20 leading
industrial and developing nations at their meeting in Russia last month. In their final statement, they said the global
economic recovery is "too weak" and may become more so, pledging to take "decisive actions" to boost activity and create
But the figures are at odds with other indicators of economic activity, which have recently pointed to a stronger
global economy. The J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. global purchasing managers index rose in September to hit its highest level
in 18 months.
There are some signs that October was a weaker month for global activity. PMI surveys released earlier Thursday showed
private sector activity in the euro zone has slowed this month, although a similar survey pointed to a pickup in Chinese
According to figures provided by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the global
economy picked up in the second quarter of this year, with the combined gross domestic product of the G-20 nations
expanding by 0.9%, up from the 0.6% recorded in the first quarter.
World trade flows collapsed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, but rebounded rapidly in 2010. Since then growth
has been very slow both reflecting and contributing to the patchy and weak global economic recovery.
The CPB also provides a measure of world factory output, which was up 0.3% in August, having risen by 0.5% in July.
Write to Paul Hannon at firstname.lastname@example.org
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