Global trade plunged by record during peak Covid-19 lockdowns

  • Economy
  • Thursday, 25 Jun 2020

(Bloomberg) -- Global trade suffered a record plunge at the peak of the lockdowns to contain the coronavirus, dropping by more than 12% in April alone.

With factories, airports and offices shut and movement and international travel restricted, trade was down 16% compared with a year earlier, the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis said Thursday.

Three-month figures, which the CPB uses to gauge momentum, dropped 7%.

The World Trade Organization this week tempered its pessimism about the outlook, saying its worst-case scenario for a 32% drop in global commerce this year will probably be avoided.

Its optimistic scenario still sees a decline of about 13%.

The WTO said global trade could see a 5% to 20% rebound next year.

But it’s far from certain and depends on whether there’s a second wave of Covid-19 outbreaks, weaker than expected economic growth or widespread recourse to trade restrictions.

The IMF also updated its global outlook, predicting a 4.9% slump in world GDP and an 11.9% contraction in trade this year.

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