International trade is set to plunge by 27% in the second quarter and by 20% for the year, as major sectors, including the automotive and energy industries, collapse from the effects the pandemic, a United Nations agency said on Thursday.
“Assuming persisting uncertainty, UNCTAD forecast indicates a decline of around 20% for the year 2020,” the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development said in a report. “Trade in the automotive and energy sector collapsed while trade in agri-food products has been stable.”
Trade in developing countries appears to have taken a “nosedive” in April, falling faster relative to developed countries, it said. Imports into developing countries fell by 19% in April while their exports shrank by 18%, it said.
China appeared to have “fared better” than other major economies, with exports growing by 3% in April, but the recovery may be short-lived as imports and exports fell by 8% in May, it added.