(Bloomberg) -- Global trade is staging what the United Nations termed a “fragile recovery,” as economies battered by the pandemic claw their way back to full activity.
UN trade body UNCTAD’s assessment for the latter half of 2020 was shared by the chief executive officer of Swiss freight forwarder Kuehne + Nagel International AG, which recorded sea freight volumes in September that were close to the previous year’s level.
“We have seen volumes gradually coming back month by month” and the trend is expected to continue, Detlef Trefzger told Bloomberg in an interview this week.
A revival of international commerce is a key prerequisite for the global economy to exit the historic recession unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic that forced businesses around the world to close up shop.
The International Monetary Fund predicts a 4.4% drop in global gross domestic product this year and has warned the path of recovery is uneven.
“We are very happy to see the small and medium-sized enterprises, especially, but also industries that were rather depressed like the automotive industry or the industrial production industry, the machinery industry, that they have come back to an almost normal situation,” Trefzger said.
In its report on Wednesday, UNCTAD said that despite the third-quarter rebound, global trade is forecast to plummet about 7% this year. An even deeper slump is possible if the pandemic intensifies again or if there is a “sudden increase in trade restrictive policies.”
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