International trade of G20 countries continued to recover in the final quarter of 2020, following sharp falls in the year’s first half due to COVID-19 lockdowns, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said on Tuesday.

Exports went up 7.2% and imports 6.8% in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the latest data.

“Although growth in the fourth quarter of 2020 was strong, it shows a reduction compared to the unprecedented expansion observed in the third quarter, when exports and imports increased by 20.6% and 16.8%, respectively,” the OECD said.

All G20 economies saw a rise in international trade, except for Argentina, where growth was hampered by strikes in the wheat export supply chain, it added.

Provisional data available for January 2021 shows international trade growth continuing.

“A strong driver of 2020 merchandise trade growth in the G20 was China, which already experienced a rebound in the second quarter of 2020 and has seen solid international trade growth continue in the last two quarters of 2020,” the OECD said.

China’s exports went up 7% and 6.1% and imports increased 7.6% and 3.1% in the third and fourth quarter, respectively, according to the data.

In the Asia-Pacific region, strong growth in the final quarter was seen in Australia — exports up 11.6% and imports up 7.9% — and Japan, where exports increased 9.7% and imports grew 6.5%.

Growth was more moderate in Indonesia (6.2% and 1.7%) and South Korea (5% and 4.5%), the OECD said.

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