The rate of global trade’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis hit a record high in the first quarter of 2021, rising up by 10% year-on-year and four percent quarter-on-quarter, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in its Global Trade Update report published on Wednesday.
UNCTAD noted that the impressive rebound in Q1 2021 continued to be driven by the strong export performance of East Asian economies, whose early success in pandemic mitigation allowed them to rebound faster and to capitalize on rising global demand for COVID-19 related products.
China, India and South Africa trade performed relatively better than other major economies during the period, the report stated.
In Q1 2021, the value of trade in goods was higher than pre-pandemic level, but trade in services remains substantially below averages, according to the report. Global trade in COVID-19-related products remained strong during the quarter.
The rebound is expected to continue into the second quarter, with the value of global trade in goods and services forecast to reach $6.6-trillion, equivalent to a year-on-year increase of about 31% relative to the lowest point of 2020 and about 3% relative to the pre-pandemic levels of 2019, UNCTAD noted.
Trade growth is expected to remain stronger for East Asia and developed countries, while still lagging for many other countries.