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UNCTAD Latest Global Trade Update Indicates Strong Recovery in China & East Asia

UNCTAD has published its latest Global Trade Update. The good news is that world trade continued its recovery from the pandemic in the fourth quarter of 2020, and most sectors saw positive growth. The less good news is that although trade in goods rebounded by 8%, services stagnated. And while goods exports from East Asian economies grew by about 12% in Q4 (year-over-year), negative trends continued for goods exported from most other regions.

The report also highlights persisting concerns about COVID-19, noting that uncertainty about the timing and magnitude of stimulus packages will result in a lower trade rebound in the coming months.

UNCTAD projects that the first quarter of 2021 will record a slowdown in the recovery of trade in goods (a 1.5% drop relative to Q4 2020) and a further decline for trade in services (a 7% drop relative to Q4 2020), largely because of continued disruptions in the travel sector.

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