Trade finance volumes totalled US$26.8bn in Q1 2012 – the lowest figure recorded since 2009, according to Dealogic’s latest report.

Q1 2012 trade finance figures were down 18% year-on-year. Activity also fell to 173 deals, down 39% on Q1 2011 when 282 deals were completed.

Excluding sole-bank loans, trade finance volumes fell to US$20.5bn in Q1 2012. This was down by 7% in the same period in 2011, and marks the lowest quarterly volume since Q3 2009 (US$18.9bn).

Petroleum products trader Vitol completed the largest trade finance deal in Q1 2012. Vitol signed a US$2.1bn facility for its trade flow purposes in March.

Syndicated trade financing loan volumes also fell 84% year-on-year to US$1.8bn, as just nine deals were completed − down from 47 in the same period in 2011.

Structured commodity volumes reached US$2.9bn, while supply chain figures totalled US$1.6bn in Q1 2012.

Pre-export loan volume saw the lowest quarterly volume since Q2 2004, with just US$546mn via eight deals in Q1 2012.

In terms of countries, China recorded the highest level of trade activity with 29 deals completed in Q1 2012. Luxembourg and Brazil followed with 15 and 14 deals, respectively.

Finally, ECA guarantees also fell to a new low in Q1 2012 with a total of 73 deals, making it the lowest quarterly activity since Q4 2008. Despite this, volumes reached US$12bn, up 8% on the US$11.1bn recorded in 1Q 2011.