October Trade: Major Events Recap

Global trade market is ever-changing with new challenges and opportunities. To facilitate your business planning, we have summarised key happenings last month for easy reading:

The French government has mandated that online bookstores like Amazon must charge at least 3 euros for shipping to protect independent physical bookstores. From October 7 onwards, online bookstores must charge at least 3 euros in shipping fees for every book. Before this, online bookshops like Amazon only charged 0.01 euros for shipping. Amazon argues that this law violates consumer rights and has sued the French Supreme Court. But until the court makes a decision, online bookstores like Amazon must comply with this rule.

The mandatory online book delivery charge aims to protect physical bookshops in France.

Indonesia Imposed Additional Tariffs on 8 e-Commerce Goods

According to the Indonesian Directorate General of Customs and Excise, from October 17, the list of goods subject to the most-favored-nation (MFN) tariffs was expanded from 4 to 8 items, with addition of bicycles, cosmetics, steel, and watches. This includes books (0% tax rate), bags (15-20% tax rate), textiles (5-25% tax rate), footwears (5-30% tax rate), cosmetics (10-15% tax rate), iron/steel (0-20% tax rate), bicycles (25-40% tax rate), and watches (10% tax rate). These most-favored-nation tariffs will be collected in addition to the fixed import tax of 7.5% and VAT of 11% on all cargo.

Brazilian Central Bank Adjusted Inflation Predictions Downwards

The Central Bank of Brazil released a report on October 16 predicting a decrease in the country’s inflation rate for the year. The benchmark National Broad Consumer Price Index (IPCA) was revised from the previous 4.86% to 4.75%. The report also set inflation targets of 3.88% and 3.5% for 2024 and 2025 respectively. The market generally believes that a rise in gasoline prices in September 2023 is the main factor contributing to increased inflationary pressure.

Singapore Achieved Faster Economic Growth Than Expected in 2023 Q3

Data released by the Singaporean government on October 13 show that the country’s economy grew faster than expected in the third quarter due to construction and the service sector compensating for the continued slump in manufacturing. The Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry said that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 0.7% year-on-year in the third quarter, surpassing the anticipated 0.4% growth and maintaining the growth momentum of 0.5% from the previous quarter. In particular, the construction and service sectors grew by 6% and 1.9% respectively, offsetting the 5% negative growth in manufacturing.

Singapore got better-than-expected economic growth in the last quarter.

South Korea Recorded ICT Exports Decline for 15 Consecutive Months

Announced data by the South Korean government on October 16 revealed that South Korean ICT product exports were US$18.06 billion in September, a year-on-year decrease of 13.4%. This marks a decline for the 15th consecutive month, but the rate of decline narrowed to the lowest record this year. Following a drop of 35.9% in April 2023, the decrease has slowed down in recent months. The South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT said that chip exports have shown signs of gradual recovery, but the pace of recovery is expected to slow down due to falling DRAM (dynamic random access memory in computing devices) prices.

Keep yourself abreast of the latest international trade news by staying tuned to our regular NewsBites blogposts, which will provide you with sourcing updates and expert insights!

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