The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has projected a 5% contraction in global trade for the year 2023. This anticipated decrease is attributed in part to the underperformance of exports from developing nations.
According to UNCTAD’s latest world trade report, merchandise trade is poised to decline by 8%, amounting to a $2trn reduction. Conversely, the services sector is expected to witness a 7% growth, adding roughly $500bn. Consequently, the aggregate global trade is predicted to fall to $30.7trn, marking a 5% dip compared to the previous year.
The report notes that multiple factors contributed to the downturn in global trade during 2023, including reduced demand in developed economies, sluggish growth in East Asian countries, and falling commodity prices.
Looking ahead to 2024, the outlook for global trade remains uncertain and predominantly negative. While certain economic indicators suggest marginal recovery, persistent geopolitical conflicts, escalating debt burdens, and overall economic frailty are likely to continue impeding trade patterns worldwide.