Good news for businesses: Global trade rebounds to record highs in 2021


World trade rebounded again in the first quarter of 2021, increasing about 10% year-on-year and 4% quarter-on-quarter, according to the May world trade update from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

By Claudiu Vrinceanu

Trade goods exceed pre-pandemic levels, with COVID-related trade sectors remaining strong. Exchange services are still lagging behind.

Uneven economic recovery, relocation and nearshoring, and government interventions are key factors that will characterize global trade in 2021.

  1. Uneven economic recovery

Some economies are expected to rebound stronger and faster than others. In particular, China and the United States of America are expected to be the main engines of global growth in 2021. This should also positively affect countries whose trade is relatively more integrated with them (East Asian countries , Canada and Mexico).

  1. Relocation and nearshoring trends

The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced substantial uncertainty into the operations of many global value chains, providing incentives to reduce segmentation and bring production closer to consumers.

  1. Government interventions and policies affecting international trade

Governments should use a wide range of policies as part of their post-pandemic recovery plans. Given the continuing diplomatic friction between some of the major economies and the current difficulties within the multilateral trading system, there is a risk that some of these policies will be trade restrictive.

Rebound in exports to Romania

In the first three months of 2021, Romania’s exports increased by 3.9% compared to the first quarter of 2020. Instead, imports increased by almost a double percentage, respectively 7.1%, which resulted in a higher balance deficit than last year, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INS).

After exports resumed growth and rose 3.9% at the start of 2021, economic analysts became more optimistic, but we must continue to worry that Romania has a trade deficit of 5.3 billion. . Euro, up 19%.

Romania’s macroeconomic health in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic rests primarily on the unique contribution of domestic demand to the economic recovery, which in 2020 has been more consistent than expected. But the negative contribution from net exports exceeded expectations, due to the widening gap between imports and exports. The trade deficit, thus increased, caused the deterioration of the trade balance deficit.

In Romania, exports have a negative contribution to the increase in gross domestic product by 1.1 percentage points, according to the National Institute of Statistics.

By comparison, other economies in the region have beaten the analyst’s expectations for 2020, aided by a stable contribution of net exports to growth. For example, Poland’s net exports helped to increase by 1.1 pp, on the basis of a recovery in external demand.


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