Can we repeat a good year for global trade?

Recently released import and export figures for 2021 reflect a rare “bumper harvest” for global trade, but it remains to be seen whether the good years will be repeated this year.
According to data released by the German Federal Statistics Office on Tuesday, Germany’s goods imports and exports in 2021 were estimated at 1.2 trillion euros and 1.4 trillion euros respectively, up 17.1% and 14% from the previous year, both surpassing pre-COVID-19 levels and hitting a record high, and significantly higher than market expectations.
In Asia, China’s import and export volume exceeded us $6 trillion for the first time in 2021. Eight years after reaching US $4 trillion for the first time in 2013, China’s import and export volume reached us $5 trillion and US $6 trillion respectively, reaching historical highs. In TERMS of RMB, China’s exports and imports will increase by 21.2 percent and 21.5 percent year-on-year respectively in 2021, both of which will see a high growth of more than 20 percent compared with 2019.
South Korea’s exports in 2021 stood at 644.5 billion DOLLARS, up 25.8 percent year on year and 39.6 billion dollars higher than the previous record of 604.9 billion dollars in 2018. Imports and exports totaled nearly $1.26 trillion, also a record high. It is the first time since 2000 that 15 major export items, including semiconductors, petrochemicals and automobiles, recorded double-digit growth.
Japan’s exports rose 21.5% year-on-year in 2021, with exports to China hitting a new high. Exports and imports also grew at an 11-year high last year, with imports up nearly 30 per cent from a year earlier.
The rapid growth of multinational trade is mainly due to the sustained recovery of the global economy and surging demand. Major economies recovered strongly in the first half of 2021, but generally slowed down after the third quarter, with divergent growth rates. But on the whole, the world economy was still on the upward track. The World Bank expects the global economy to grow 5.5 percent in 2021. The International Monetary Fund has a more optimistic forecast of 5.9 per cent.
Exports and imports were also boosted by a broad rise in prices for commodities such as crude oil, metals and grains. By the end of January, the Luvoort/Core commodity CRB index was up 46% year on year, the biggest increase since 1995, foreign media reported. Of the 22 major commodities, nine have risen more than 50 per cent year on year, with coffee up 91 per cent, cotton 58 per cent and aluminium 53 per cent.
But analysts say global trade growth is likely to weaken this year.
At present, the world economy faces multiple downside risks, including the spread of COVID-19, escalating geopolitical tensions and worsening climate change, which means that the recovery of trade is on a shaky footing. Recently, a number of international organizations and institutions, including the World Bank, IMF and OECD, have lowered their forecasts for world economic growth in 2022.
Weak supply chain resilience is also a constraint on trade recovery. Zhang Yuyan, director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, believes that for enterprises, trade tensions between major economies and the near paralysis of the multilateral trading system, frequent climate and natural disasters, and frequent cyber attacks have increased the possibility of supply chain disruption in different dimensions.
Supply chain stability is critical to global trade. According to the World Trade Organization (WTO) statistics, due to supply chain disruptions and other factors, the volume of global trade in goods declined in the third quarter of last year. A repeat of this year’s “black Swan” events, which disrupted or disrupted supply chains, would be an inevitable drag on global trade.

Post time: Feb-14-2022