The impacts of financial crisis shocks on trade performance are investigated for a sample of Asian countries that experienced financial crises during the 1980–2006 period. Credit, currency appreciation, currency depreciation and external debt shocks are considered. The focus is to look beyond aggregates into sub-sector level exports using disaggregated data for 27 industries. We look at how the shocks affect bilateral exports in general and fluctuation of exports in terms of creation and diversion in particular. Further, the impact of each crisis shock on the level of competitiveness and the degree of diversification of exports is assessed. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.