Global trade hit record $7.7trln mark in Q1 2022; UNCTAD

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Desk Reporter
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Goods Trade
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According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the value of global trade rose by almost 15 percent to a record $7.7 trillion in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of about $1 trillion compared with the same period last year.

The trade value was about $250 million more than the fourth quarter of 2021, the UN body said in its ‘Global Trade Update’ report.

Trade in both goods and services surged in the January to March period. Trade in goods reached nearly $6.1 trillion, an annual rise of about 25 percent, while trade in services soared about 22 percent yearly to $1.6 trillion.

“Trade growth is expected to remain positive but continues to slow during the second quarter,” UNCTAD stated.

According to the report, trade growth rates in the first quarter of 2022 remained strong across all geographic regions, although somewhat lower in East Asia and Pacific regions. Export growth has been generally stronger in commodity-exporting regions, as commodity prices have increased.

“Trade in merchandise goods reached about $6.1 trillion, an increase of about 25 percent relative to the first quarter of 2021, and a jump of about 3.6 percent relative to the fourth quarter of 2021,” as per the report.

The value of merchandise exports from developing countries was about 25 percent higher in the first quarter of 2022 than in the first quarter of 2021. In comparison, this figure is about 14 percent for developed countries.

Merchandise trade between developing countries also strongly grew during the first quarter of 2022. “Trade in services grew to about $1.6 trillion, an increase of about 22 percent relative to the first quarter of 2021, and a rise of about 1.7 percent relative to the fourth quarter of 2021,” UNCTAD noted.

The report says the evolution of world trade for the remainder of 2022 is likely to be affected by slower-than-expected economic growth due to rising interest rates, inflationary pressures, and concerns over debt sustainability in many economies.

The report states that the war in Ukraine is affecting international trade by putting further upward pressure on the international prices of energy and primary commodities.

“Other factors expected to influence global trade this year are continuing challenges for global supply chains, regionalization trends, and policies supporting the transition towards a greener global economy,” UNCTAD added.

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