Tim Condon, Chief Economist at ING, believes that the global manufacturing slump intensified coming into 2016. Key Quotes “The plunge in Korea’s trade in January proved a reliable guide to China’s data, with USD-value exports down 11.2% YoY, and imports down 18.8%. Lunar New Year seasonality may have contributed. Chunyun, the Spring Festival travel period, began on January 24 and lasts until March 3. The LNY distortion will persist through February. The trade surplus hit a record US$63.3bn. The commodity price crash caused a doubling in the average monthly trade surplus to US$48bn in July 2014-December 2015 from US$20bn in the 18 months to June 2014. A crash or surge in commodity prices could trigger another step up or a step down in the surplus but our baseline is an increase in the surplus in 2016, albeit much smaller than 2015’s US$221bn (to US$603bn). Large sequential declines in China’s, Korea’s and Indonesia’s trade in January suggest that the global manufacturing slump intensified coming into 2016.” For more information, read our latest forex news.