World exports of intermediate goods (IGs) grew 4% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2022 to US$ 2.5 trillion, driven by the increase in shipments of intermediate food products. The overall growth, while slower than the increase recorded in the same period a year ago, continues to indicate stable activity in global supply chains.
The share of IGs in total trade (excluding fuels) remained at 50% in the second quarter of 2022, a ratio that has remained constant over the last decade. IGs refer to inputs used to produce a final product and are an indicator of the activity in global supply chains. In comparison, world IG exports grew by 47% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2021.
The product category "IG food and beverages" largely contributed to trade growth within supply chains, rising 20% year-on-year and amounting to more than US$ 120 billion.
World exports of "Other industrial supplies" covering a wide range of manufacturing inputs such as metal structures, electrical conductors, and medical products rose 9% while the exports of transport parts and accessories grew 1%.
World exports of ores, precious stones and rare earths, however, fell 11% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2022, reflecting the decline of iron ore prices. Imports of iron ores from Australia were among the major declines (-25%). World exports of IG parts and accessories, excluding transport equipment, dropped by 1%.
Compared with the first quarter, South and Central America posted the highest IG export growth in the second quarter at 22%, owing to massive seasonal exports of soybeans by Brazil mainly to China.
Brazil ranked as the 13th largest IG exporter in the second quarter, behind China in first place.
The 9% growth observed for North America is linked to the 74 per cent increase in US gold exports, in particular to Europe and Asia.
Similar to global IG growth, the year-on-year rise in most trade flows within regions and between regions was lower in the second quarter of 2022 compared with previous quarters. African IG exports to South and Central America increased the most among all inter-regional flows (100% year-on-year).
This bilateral trade flow included exports of urea and ammonium from Africa to the fertilizer industry in Brazil. Moreover, regional IG exports destined for Africa were among the highest increases.
Some regions posted declines: European IG exports to Asia decreased by 11% while North American IG exports to Asia fell 4%. African IG exports to North America also declined by 4%.