Global trade is projected to record a quarter-on-quarter slump of 27% in the second quarter of 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, after falling by 3% in the first quarter, a new report by the Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities (CCSA) warns.
The report, released on May 13, is a product of cooperation between the international statistics community and national statistical offices and systems around the world, coordinated by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, or Unctad.
The drop in global trade, the report notes, is being accompanied by marked decreases in commodity prices, which have fallen precipitously since December.
Unctad’s Free Market Commodity Price Index (FMCPI) lost 1.2% of its value in January, 8.5% in February and 20.4% in March.
The March decline in the FMCPI was the largest one-month slump in history, eclipsing the declines experienced during the 2008 global financial crisis, when the maximum month-on-month decrease was 18.6%.
“Fuels were the main driver behind this development, recording a price fall of 33.2% in March, while minerals, ores and metals, food and agricultural raw materials saw prices decreasing by less than 4%,” the CCSA report states.
The duration and overall strength of the current downward trend in commodity prices and global trade remains uncertain, the report adds, while noting that the 2008 decline endured for six months.
Unctad highlights that, before the Covid-19 pandemic sent international commerce into a tailspin, global merchandise trade volumes and values were showing modest signs of recovery since late 2019.