Against All Odds, Trade Going Strong
“Resilient” seems to be the key word to describe global trade today. Despite myriad challenges—the aftermath of the pandemic, inflation, the war in Ukraine, a rocky stock market—global trade is persisting at strong levels, according to the latest DHL Trade Growth Atlas, published by DHL and the NYU Stern School of Business. The report maps the most important trends and prospects of global trade in goods, covering 173 countries.
Key takeaways include:
- International trade in goods has surged as high as 10% above pre-pandemic levels, even in the face of significant supply bottlenecks that constrained further growth.
- Prospects for future trade growth remain surprisingly positive. Due to the war in Ukraine, trade growth forecasts have been downgraded, but they still call for trade to grow slightly faster in 2022 and 2023 than it did over the preceding decade.
- E-commerce sales boomed during the pandemic (see chart) and forecasts point to strong cross-border e-commerce growth continuing.
- Trade growth is spread across a wider variety of countries. China accounted for one-quarter of trade growth in recent years and is predicted to continue to have the largest growth, but its share is likely to fall by half, to 13%. Vietnam, India, and the Philippines stand out on both speed and scale of projected trade growth through 2026. All three have potential to benefit from efforts by many companies to diversify China-centric production and sourcing strategies.