Logistics article(s)
September 16, 2022

Global trade volumes stayed strong — bouncing back quickly following the Covid-19 pandemic and current geopolitical and economic shocks, according to the DHL Trade Growth Atlas 2022.


The German logistics company also stressed that prospects remain bright with trade projected to grow faster in 2022 and 2023 than it did over the previous decade.


The DHL Trade Growth Atlas — published by DHL with the New York University Stern Business School (NYU Stern) — found that the Covid pandemic had not been a "major setback" for the growth in global trade.


Instead, the report noted that international trade in goods has surged as high as 10% above pre-pandemic levels, even in the face of significant supply bottlenecks that constrained further growth.

 Self Photos / Files - Global Trade Growth

 Source: DHL Trade Growth Atlas 2022

"The Covid-19 pandemic has not been the major setback for global trade that many anticipated,"  the finding of the DHL Trade Growth Atlas 2022 said.


It noted that the pandemic caused an "unprecedented shift" in consumption from services — many of which, like restaurant meals and tourism, were restricted to reduce in-person contact — to physical goods, which were already traded much more intensively than services.


The growth of cross-border e-commerce is expected to help propel trade growth.


E-commerce expected to continue growth trajectory


"At the same time, the pandemic also accelerated the growth of cross-border e-commerce," the report said, noting that at the beginning of the pandemic, there was a surge of interest in shortening supply chains and producing goods closer to customers.


"But as trade rebounded and global supply chains delivered a record amount of goods, many companies backed away from reshoring and nearshoring plans," it added.


The DHL Trade Growth Atlas also said as e-commerce sales boomed during the pandemic, it is also forecasted that cross-border e-commerce will stay strong and continue to grow.


The DHL Atlas Trade Growth 2022 noted that e-commerce sales are likely to soar from US$300 billion in 2020 to roughly US$1 trillion by 2030.


"Under an even more optimistic scenario, cross-border e-commerce sales could reach US$2 trillion over the next decade and the cross-border share of e-commerce sales could double," the report said.


The report pointed out that looking at this year, trade growth forecasts have been impacted by the ongoing war in Ukraine, but noted that this is only a minor setback to global trade in the long run.


"Prospects for future trade growth remain surprisingly positive," the report said. "Due to the war in Ukraine, trade growth forecasts have been downgraded, but they still call for trade to grow slightly faster in 2022 and 2023 than it did over the preceding decade."


"The war in Ukraine has confronted globalisation with yet another shock, but the evidence thus far points to a much smaller impact on global trade growth as compared to the pandemic," the report further said.


Southeast Asia, South Asia to lead trade growth


The DHL Trade Growth Atlas also noted "new poles of trade growth" in Southeast and South Asia, as it pointed out to trade growth is "expected to accelerate dramatically" in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Self Photos / Files - Merchandise Exports by Region

 Source: DHL Trade Growth Atlas 2022

"Vietnam, India, and the Philippines stand out on both speed and scale of projected trade growth through 2026," DHL and NYU stern said in the report. "All three have the potential to benefit from efforts by many companies to diversify China-centric production and sourcing strategies."


The report added that while emerging economies increased their shares of world trade from 24% to 40% between 2000 and 2012, with half of the increase driven by China alone, these shares have barely changed over the past decade.


It added, however, that emerging economies are becoming increasingly important exporters of sophisticated capital goods – such as industrial equipment and engines.


Self Photos / Files - Merchandise Imports by Region

 Source: DHL Trade Growth Atlas 2022

The report said trade could play a vital role in responding to the surging inflation.


"With inflation at multi-decade highs and economies slowing down, trade's power to accelerate growth, lower prices, and diversify sources of key inputs is even more crucial for companies and countries than it was before the present wave of crises," DHL and NYU Stern said.


DHL and NYU Stern School of Business published the new DHL Trade Growth Atlas, which maps the most important trends and prospects of global trade in goods. The report covers 173 countries, providing valuable business intelligence for policymakers and industry leaders.

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