THE United Nations Conference on Trade and Development expects global trade values to reach US$28 trillion in 2021. This would be an increase of 11% relative to pre-pandemic levels.

Global trade growth has stabilised over the second half of 2021, increasing about 1% quarter-over-quarter.

Trade in goods reached record levels in the third quarter of 2021, valued at about US$5.6 trillion over the quarter. Trade in services came to about US$1.5 trillion.

Trade in goods is expected to remain constant at about US$5.6 trillion in the fourth quarter of this year.

In its most recent global trade update, UNCTAD said the positive trend for international trade this year was largely the result of the strong recovery in demand after pandemic restrictions subsided.

However, 2022’s forecast remains “very uncertain”. This uncertainty, UNCTAD said, has to do with slowing economic recovery; disruptions in the logistics networks, and attendant increases in shipping costs; global semiconductor shortage; geopolitical factors and the regionalisation of trade flows; governmental policies affecting international trade; and debt burdens.