World trade recovered in the fourth quarter of 2020: UNCTAD

The recovery in world trade in the fourth quarter of 2020 is largely due to developing countries, the UNCTAD reported.

World trade in goods to and from developing countries has recovered more strongly compared to developed countries, especially in relation to exports.

However, the positive trade growth of developing countries in the fourth quarter of 2020 disappears once the East Asian economies are excluded.

The importance of the East Asian economies in explaining the recovery of developing country trade is even more pronounced when one considers trade between developing countries (South-South trade).

While South-South trade has outpaced world trade, the exclusion of trade from developing economies in East Asia causes South-South trade to drop significantly, even in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Meanwhile, the recovery of trade in developed and developing countries shows different patterns.

The global trade recovery in the fourth quarter of 2020 has been very different by geographic region.

Year-over-year, trade in goods originating from the East Asia region grew by around 12% in the fourth quarter of 2020, and imports of goods increased by around 5%.

World trade

By contrast, negative trends for goods exports from most other regions continued in the fourth quarter of 2020.