WTO: impact of Covid-19 on trade differed between regions

The World Trade Organization (WTO) reported on Wednesday that the impact of Covid-19 differed between regions.

Overall, most regions recorded large declines in both exports and imports.

Asia was the only exception, with an increase in export volumes of 0.3% and a modest decrease in import volumes of 1.3%.

At the same time, according to the WTO, regions rich in natural resources recorded the largest drops in imports, including Africa (-8.8%), South America (-9.3%) and the Middle East (-11.3 percent), probably due to to the reduction in export earnings, as oil prices fell by around 35 percent.

Compared to other regions, the fall in North American imports was relatively small (-6.1 percent).


In 2021, the demand for tradable goods will be driven by North America (11.4%) thanks to large fiscal injections in the United States, which should also stimulate other economies through the trade channel.

Meanwhile, the WTO estimates that Europe and South America will experience import growth of around 8%, while other regions will register smaller increases.

Much of the global import demand will be met by Asia, whose exports are expected to grow 8.4% in 2021.

On the other hand, European exports will increase almost as much (8.3%), while shipments from North America will experience a smaller increase (7.7%).

The solid forecasts for export growth in Africa (8.1%) and the Middle East (12.4%) depend on the recovery of travel expenses throughout the year, which would reinforce the demand for oil.

Meanwhile, South America will see weaker export growth (3.2%), as will the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), including some former and associate members (4.4%).


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