The Global Trade Slowdown Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better



Mike Bird | The Wall Street Journal

Surprisingly strong Chinese trade data for January are looking like an outlier, given this week’s soggy numbers from Japan and Korea

A week is a long time in global trade, apparently. Weak data from Japan and Korea this week suggest stronger-than-expected January trade numbers from China released last week were a blip. For investors focused on the outcome of U.S.-China trade talks, the message is clear: Pay more attention to the global slump that’s already under way.

The discrepancy between Chinese and Japanese trade data is one bad sign for global economy optimists. Chinese statisticians recorded a 2% month-over-month fall in imports from Japan in January, while Japan recorded a 31.7% fall in exports to China over the same period. That’s the biggest divergence between the two data sets in eight years.

[To read the original article, click here.]