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December 23, 2020

World trade volume rallies in third quarter after COVID-19 shock

According to statistics released by the World Trade Organization (WTO) global merchandise trade volumes bounced back in the third quarter of 2020 from a deep second quarter slump brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The third quarter rally helped limit the contraction in world trade since the start of the year.

The WTO notes that, in the third quarter, the volume of merchandise trade rose 11.6% compared with the previous quarter after falling 12.7% in the second quarter. Despite the rebound, the volume of trade between July and September was still 5.6% lower than in the same period last year.

Merchandise import volumes grew fastest in North America (16.6% compared with the previous quarter) and Europe (15.0%) in the third quarter after having fallen sharply in the second quarter. In contrast to its stronger performance on the export side, Asia’s merchandise imports registered a modest 2.1% rise in the third quarter, suggesting a widening of trade surpluses in the region.

Double-digit export growth compared with the previous quarter was recorded in North America (20.1%), Europe (19.3%) and Asia (10.1%, from a higher base due to a smaller decline in the second quarter), while weaker growth was seen in South and Central America (3.1%) and “Other regions” (3.3%).

Link: Latest trade trends

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