After historical decline in April, global trade unlikely to reach ‘worst-case scenario’

Amid the COVID-19 global pandemic, the global trade outlook for the remainder of this year is now seen as “unlikely to reach the worst-case scenario” said the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Back in April, the WTO initially projected global trade would decline between 13% and 32% due to the pandemic and all of the measures implemented by governments all around the world.

“We are currently on track for the more optimistic scenario. If trade volumes rebound by a relatively modest 2.5% per quarter for the rest of the year, then the overall decline for 2020 will be around 13%,” WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said in his video message Tuesday.

However, Azevêdo noted that governments have begun easing lockdown measures and travel restrictions.

Further, Azevêdo added that the purchasing manager’s index for export orders also started to improve from the historic declines back in April.

“This is genuinely positive news but we cannot afford to be complacent. A second wave of Covid-19 outbreaks would threaten both lives and livelihoods,” he said.

Azevêdo said policymakers will determine the pace of economic recovery.

“For strong rebounds in output and trade in 2021, fiscal, monetary, and trade policies will all need to pull in the same direction. Closing markets to trade would mean uncertainty, supply shocks, weaker productivity, and lower living standards. Keeping markets open to trade flows would do the opposite,” the WTO chief said.

The WTO estimated that global trade in the second quarter of the year registered its biggest decline of 18.5% year-on-year.

Balikbayan Media Center
Balikbayan Media Center

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