The Strategist

UN: World trade volume restores after COVID crisis

05/20/2021 - 04:24

The volume of global trade following the COVID-19 pandemic crisis recovered to a record level in the first quarter of 2021, up 10% year-on-year, according to a UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report released on Wednesday.

"World trade volume recovered from the COVID-19 crisis to a record high in the first quarter of 2021, up 10% year-on-year and 4% quarter-on-quarter," the report said.

It stresses that global trade in the first quarter of 2021 was above pre-crisis levels, increasing by about 3% compared to the first quarter of 2019.

"The trade recovery in the first quarter of 2021 continues to be driven by strong East Asian export performance. Trade in goods was higher in the first quarter of 2021 than before the pandemic, but trade in services remains significantly below average. During the first quarter of 2021, global trade in products related to COVID-19 remained at a high level," the study notes.

The recovery is expected to continue in the second quarter of 2021, with global trade in goods and services projected to reach $6.6 trillion.

UNCTAD forecasts trade growth of around 16 per cent in 2021 (in value terms). It is emphasized that the positive outlook depends heavily on the amount of restrictions imposed because of the pandemic, the continued positive trend in commodity prices, general restrictions on trade protectionism policies, and favourable macroeconomic and financial conditions.