Capital flows drop faster than trade flows

Some interesting charts from Council on Foreign Relation’s Brad Setser’s blog.  In comparing the drop in trade (export, import) to the flow in financial flows, he used “used the January trade data to estimate the q1 fall in exports and imports (down 22% and 27% respectively, y/y and in nominal terms) and I plotted trade flows against private capital flows (I reversed the sign on outflows, and subtracted “private” treasury purchases from the inflow data*). The last data point on the capital flows side is from the fourth quarter…”


For a more accurate comparison, he scaled it to GDP and he found a bigger drop.


The main observation here is that the capital outflows have been bigger, much bigger than the trade flows. Setser also observed how the drop in capital preceeded the drop in trade.  No surprises I suppose.  Apart from the drop in demand, it is financing that becomes one of the biggest barriers when it comes to a well functioning trade system.


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