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Trade set to plunge as COVID-19 pandemic upends global economy

World trade is expected to fall by between 13% and 32% in 2020 as the COVID 19 pandemic disrupts normal economic activity and life around the world.

The main points of the trade forecast can be found below:

  • World merchandise trade is set to plummet by between 13 and 32% in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A2021 recovery in trade is expected, but dependent on the duration of the outbreak and the effectiveness of the policy responses.
  • Nearly all regions will suffer double-digit declines in trade volumes in 2020, with exports from North America and Asia hit hardest.
  • Trade will likely fall steeper in sectors with complex value chains, particularly electronics and automotive products.
  • Services trade may be most directly affected by COVID-19 through transport and travel restrictions.
  • Merchandise trade volume already fell by 0.1% in 2019, weighed down by trade tensions and slowing economic growth. The dollar value of world merchandise exports in 2019 fell by 3% to US$ 18.89 trillion.
  • The value of commercial services exports rose 2% to US$ 6.03 trillion in 2019.