Global goods trade to fall 27% in Q2 after 5% decline in First Quarter-UNCTAD
- United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on Thursday said that the value of international trade in goods declined around 5% in the first quarter of 2020 and is expected to decline further by 27% in the ongoing quarter with trade in many developing countries projected to nosedive due to the “unprecedented effects of the pandemic”.
- In April, developing countries in South Asia and the Middle East suffered the steepest decline in exports while those in East Asia and the Pacific experienced the least reduction in exports, it said in its global trade update, adding that no region has been spared from the decline in international trade.
- UNCTAD’s estimates are in line with those of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) which expects global merchandise trade to decline 13-32% in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The organisation said that world trade was already slowing down prior to the Covid-19 pandemic but the economic and social disruptions brought by its global outbreak are resulting in a dramatic decline in trade.
- “Although preliminary, data for April suggest a sharp downturn in all other regions with declines of up to 40% for countries in South Asia and Middle East regions,” UNCTAD said.
- Sectorally, trade in medical goods such as ventilators, monitors, thermometers, hand sanitizers, protective masks and garments contracted at the onset of the pandemic but then increased in February and March and almost doubled in April 2020.
- For instance, the first two months of 2020 saw an increase in Chinese domestic demand for medical products resulting in a strong increase in imports from Europe and the US which were not yet significantly hit by Covid-19.
- “Noteworthy is also that Chinese exports of such equipment declined by 15% in the first two months of 2020 as Chinese supply reoriented towards domestic demand,” UNCTAD said.
- Data for March shows that imports of medical equipment continued to increase in China (41% increase) but also in the European Union (21 % increase). April saw a massive increase in Chinese exports of medical equipment (338% increase). This surge was largely driven by exports of protective equipment. Finally, April data for the US reflect the increasing concern for the pandemic as import of medical products increased by almost 60% while export declined by approximately 20%.
About United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)-
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development was established in 1964 as a permanent intergovernmental body. UNCTAD is the part of the United Nations Secretariat dealing with trade, investment, and development issues.
- Founded – 30th December 1964
- Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland
- Secretary-General- Mukhisa Kituyi
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