Pandemic-hit global trade rebounds to record high in Q1’21

Geneva, May 19 (FN Bureau) Global trade has seen a record-fast recovery from the pandemic-induced crisis in the first quarter of 2021, having increased by 10% year-on-year, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said on Wednesday. “World trade’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis hit a record high in the first quarter of 2021, increasing by 10% year-over-year and 4% quarter-over-quarter,” UNCTAD said in a Global Trade Update report.

It emphasized that the volume of world trade in Q1 2021 was above the pre-crisis level, increasing by about 3% compared to Q1 2019. “The impressive rebound in Q1 2021 continued to be driven by the strong export performance of East Asian economies, whose early success in pandemic mitigation allowed them to rebound faster and to capitalize on booming global demand for COVID-19 related products,” the report read, adding that “global trade in COVID-19-related products remained strong during the quarter.”

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, which is equivalent to year-on-year growth of about 31% in relation to the lowest point of 2020 and of about 3% relative to the pre-pandemic levels of 2019. “The overall forecast for 2021 indicates an increase of about 16% from the lowest point of 2020 (19% for goods and 8% for services),” UNCTAD added. It further noted that the positive outlook largely depends on the pandemic restrictions, the continuing positive trend in commodity prices, restrictions on trade protectionist policies and favorable macroeconomic and fiscal conditions.