The pandemic is raging in 2021, but global trade hits a record $28.5 trillion.

  This is the latest figure from the "Global Trade Update Report" (hereinafter referred to as the "Report") released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on the 17th local time.

The report shows that in the fourth quarter of 2021,

the value of imports and exports in all major trading economies exceeded pre-pandemic levels, and trade in goods grew more strongly in developing countries than in developed countries.

  However, the report predicts that global trade growth will slow in the first quarter of 2022.

Total trade volume to increase by 25% year-on-year in 2021

  UNCTAD said that in 2021, world trade in goods will remain strong and trade in services will eventually return to pre-pandemic levels.

The total global trade in 2021 will be US$28.5 trillion, an increase of 25% year-on-year and 13% higher than before the outbreak in 2019.

  Much of global trade growth took hold in the first half of 2021 and continued to make progress in the second half.

After a relatively slow third quarter, trade growth accelerated in the fourth quarter, with trade in goods rising by nearly $200 billion to a new record of $5.8 trillion.

  Meanwhile, global trade in services also increased by $50 billion to $1.6 trillion, slightly above pre-pandemic levels.

  The report shows that trade growth in developing countries has accelerated. In the fourth quarter of 2021, exports from developing countries increased by about 30% year-on-year, while exports from developed countries increased by 15% in the same period.

  Commodity-exporting regions experienced higher growth rates as commodity prices rose.

In addition, South-South trade growth was higher than the global average, up 32% year-on-year.

  If you look at the trade sector, except for transportation equipment, in the fourth quarter of 2021, the trade volume of all economic sectors has increased significantly year-on-year.

  The report believes that high fuel prices are behind the strong growth in trade in the energy sector.

Trade growth in metals and chemicals was also above average.

  Growth in trade in communications equipment, road vehicles and precision instruments has been dampened by a global shortage of semiconductor wafers, the report showed.

Slowdown in Q1 2022

  As mentioned earlier, UNCTAD forecasts that global trade growth will slow in the first quarter of 2022.

Both goods and services trade are expected to register positive growth rates, albeit modestly, with trade values ​​remaining at levels similar to those seen in the last three months of 2021.

  The report explains that the positive trends in international trade in 2021 are mainly the result of higher commodity prices, the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions and a strong recovery in demand due to economic stimulus packages, and as these trends are likely to subside, international trade trends are expected to change in 2022. tend to normalize.

  Meanwhile, trade growth in 2022 may be lower than expected given macroeconomic trends.

  UNCTAD believes that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut its world economic growth forecast by 0.5 percentage points, taking into account factors such as persistent inflation in the United States.

  At the same time, ongoing logistical disruptions and rising energy prices could also pose downside risks to trade growth, "efforts to shorten supply chains and diversify suppliers could affect global trade patterns in 2022," UNCTAD wrote in the report. .

  In terms of trade flows, the report predicts an increase in regionalization trends due to various trade agreements and regional initiatives, as well as "increasing reliance on geographically closer suppliers".

  The report mentioned that on January 1, 2022, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) came into force.

The agreement facilitates trade between many East Asian and Pacific economies and is expected to significantly increase trade among members.

  In addition, UNCTAD expects trade patterns in 2022 to reflect growing global demand for environmentally sustainable products.

The report warned that the world should pay attention to record levels of debt, saying concerns about debt sustainability could intensify due to mounting inflationary pressures.

  The first financial reporter checked the data released by the US Treasury and found that as of February 1, the total US public debt was 30.006 trillion US dollars.

  "A substantial tightening of financial conditions would increase pressure on the most indebted governments, magnify vulnerabilities, and negatively affect investment and international trade flows," the report said.