G20 countries’ international trade saw a sharp fall in the second quarter of 2020, the largest decline since the 2009 financial crisis, due to measures to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

G20 country exports dropped 17.7% and imports 16.7% in the second quarter of this year, on a quarterly basis, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said on Thursday.

Among G20 economies, only China posted an export increase with 9.1% in the second quarter of 2020, quarter-on-quarter, while its imports fell 4.9%.

“G20 international merchandise trade collapsed in April 2020 but began to recover in May and June as COVID 19 containment measures eased,” it noted.

In April, when most countries had stringent COVID‑19 containment measures in place, G20 exports and imports dropped 18.7% and 16%, respectively, versus March.

It added: “However, data for May and June point to a partial recovery from the April lows in nearly all G20 economies, as containment measures eased.

“July data, in those economies where data are available, point to a continued improvement.”

After appearing in China last December, the novel coronavirus has spread all around the world, causing millions of infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Efforts to curb the virus’ spread – focusing on people staying at home and avoiding most human contact – have hit economies hard.

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