SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 20 January 2022, Thursday |

Global trade expected to grow by 23% to $28 trillion in 2021, Unctad says

Global commerce, which had been harmed by the coronavirus epidemic, reached a new high in the third quarter of 2021 and is forecast to grow 23% to $28 trillion for the year, according to a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development study.

Trade growth was strong throughout the year and stabilized in the second half, growing 24% year on year in the third quarter and remaining much higher than pre-coronavirus levels.

However, the unevenness of the growth, as well as the possibility of the introduction of a new coronavirus strain, serve as a backdrop for the uncertainty predicted for 2022.

“The positive trend for international trade in 2021 is mostly the consequence of a robust rebound in demand owing to fading pandemic restrictions, economic stimulus packages, and commodity price hikes,” Unctad stated in its Global Trade Update issued on Tuesday.

Global commerce was led by goods trade, which increased 0.7% quarter on quarter to reach an all-time high of $5.6 trillion in the three months to the end of September. This year, Unctad forecasts it to set a new high of $22 trillion.

While trade in services increased by 2.5 percent year on year to almost $1.5 trillion, it remained subdued. It is expected to hit $6 trillion this year, still slightly below pre-pandemic levels.

Unctad’s data, on the other hand, does not account for the possible consequences of Omicron, the newest strain of the coronavirus discovered in South Africa last week.

While it is unclear what the repercussions would be, economists generally believe that vaccination programs and nations’ capacity to swiftly adjust to limits will allow the globe weather any negative effects, according to the Financial Times.

As the year 2022 approaches, this might add to the uncertainty. This year’s trade rebound has been defined by big and unpredictable changes in demand, putting further strain on supply networks, according to Unctad.

Increased transportation costs and supply constraints have been exacerbated by logistics bottlenecks and rising fuel prices. Backlogs across major supply chain hubs, which have characterized much of 2021, might persist into 2022, according to Unctad, severely impacting commerce and potentially reshaping trade patterns.

The rapid economic rebound that occurred in the first half of 2021, however, diminished in the second, according to Unctad.

China’s third-quarter trade growth rate of 16% was second only to Taiwan’s at 23%. Only Vietnam, Brazil, and Australia had double-digit increase.

Meanwhile, trade in the United Kingdom fell by 23%. The US and EU shrank by 4% and 3%, respectively, while the rest of the globe shrank by 3%. Globally, the average was 14%.

Rising commodity prices and inflationary pressures may have a detrimental impact on economic prospects and international trade flows. Furthermore, several countries, including those in the EU, are still dealing with coronavirus-related disruptions, which may impact consumer demand and, as a result, trade figures in the coming quarters.

Due to semiconductor shortages, trade deterioration was also observed in crucial sectors, most notably the automobile industry. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the semiconductor industry has been buffeted by unexpected increases in demand and persistent supply limitations.

This scarcity has already caused havoc in numerous businesses, most notably the automotive industry. If the scarcity persists, it might have a significant impact on output and trade in several manufacturing sectors, according to Unctad.

Regionally, the recovery in developing nations’ trade has been substantial. In previous quarters, the trend was driven by robust trade growth in East Asian emerging economies; but, in the third quarter, the tendency has spread across developing nations.

“Import and export figures for several of the world’s largest trade economies highlight the third-quarter recovery tendencies. Overall, all major economies are seeing a greater rebound for goods relative to services “Unctad stated.

This scarcity has already caused havoc in numerous businesses, most notably the automotive industry. If the scarcity persists, it might have a significant impact on output and trade in several manufacturing sectors, according to Unctad.

Regionally, the recovery in developing nations’ trade has been substantial. In previous quarters, the trend was driven by robust trade growth in East Asian emerging economies; but, in the third quarter, the tendency has spread across developing nations.

“Import and export figures for several of the world’s largest trade economies highlight the third-quarter recovery tendencies. Overall, all major economies are seeing a greater rebound for goods relative to services “Unctad stated.