While most sectors have suffered from the pandemic, global trade has proved remarkably resilient.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported the industry is making a stronger comeback than after the 2008 financial crisis, contrary to the predictions the pandemic could paralyze trade permanently.
While trade is still below pre-pandemic levels, it recouped about half of this year’s historic loss by June, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, an independent, nonprofit economic think tank based in Kiel, Germany, per the report.
Kiel Institute’s data from the 2008-09 recession found it took 13 months for trade volumes to recover to the level they reached after only two months this year, Gabriel Felbermayr, the institute’s president, told WSJ.
IHS Markit, a London-based provider of business data, reported export orders grew in 14 of 38 economies last month, compared to four in June.
“Trade is one sector of the economy that has proven to be more resilient,” Shaun Roache, chief economist for the Asia-Pacific region at S&P Global, told WSJ. “Even if you can’t go on that vacation, you can buy yourself a new laptop.”
China posted 9.5 percent growth in exports in August compared to the same month one year ago as factories were among the first to reopen following the shutdowns, according to QuantCube Technology, a Paris-based data company cited by WSJ. It is on track to be the only major economy to grow this year, researchers said.
Formlabs, a Massachusetts 3D printer manufacturer, told WSJ it has seen sales soar in recent weeks. Its products are made in China and shipped globally.
“We’re mostly back to pre-crisis levels,” Christophe Mandy, the company’s head of manufacturing, told WSJ.
Still, a complete rebound will take time.
The sales manager at Guangdong Jiusheng Electronics Technology, a TV maker in China, said her company exports three to four containers a month now, compared with four to six in pre-pandemic times, WSJ reported.
“You can tell the economic situation in foreign countries is not very good,” Eva Chan said, according to WSJ. “Many of our customers are pressing us to hand over the goods as soon as possible after placing orders.”