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World trade recovers, but faces challenges

World trade has recovered faster than the other components of world production, but it still faces challenges, according to the World Bank.

After a 6% contraction in value in 2020, world merchandise trade would grow 19% in 2021, according to estimates from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

From the World Bank’s point of view, the recovery in world trade started earlier and has been stronger than that of other components of world production, as the impact of the pandemic on activities requiring face-to-face contact initially encouraged a rotation of demand towards the consumption of durable goods, which have a high commercial intensity.

Currently, trade in manufactures is constrained by bottlenecks and supply tensions in global value chains, which were temporarily exacerbated by the blockade of the Suez Canal in March.

Businesses have experienced sharp increases in freight rates and a localized shortage of shipping containers.

To increase resilience and mitigate logistics problems, companies have increased the use of digital technologies and diversified suppliers and production sites.

World trade

For the World Bank, price pressures associated with supply bottlenecks are likely to diminish over time as global growth moderates and carriers expand capacity.

High-frequency data points to a rebound in some components of services trade, such as telecommunications and financial services.

However, tourism remains depressed, even in countries that have not experienced major outbreaks, such as small island economies.

Overall, international travel is expected to be limited for some time due to persistent mobility restrictions and reluctance to travel while the virus is not fully under control.

Trade growth is hampered by high trade costs, which remain particularly high in emerging and developing economies.

Trade costs stem primarily from transportation costs and cumbersome customs procedures, and are likely to have risen further as a result of protectionist measures, such as tariffs on trade between the United States and China and export controls on food and products. doctors.

After a 5.3% in 2020, the WTO forecasts that world trade in products will grow 8% in 2021 in terms of volume, while the IMF estimate is 8.4 percent.

 

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