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3% dip in intl trade in Q1’20: UNCTAD

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in a report that there was a 3% dip in global trade in the first quarter of 2020 owing to the spread of Covid-19. The UN trade body’s Secretary-General, Mukhisa Kituyi stated, “Everywhere governments are pressed to make post-COVID-19 recovery decisions with long-lasting consequences.”

It also noted that this period registered marked decreases in commodity prices, which have fallen precipitously since December last year. The free market commodity price index, developed by it lost 1.2% of its value in January, 8.5% in February and a whopping 20.4% in March. This index measures the price movements of primary commodities exported by developing economies. While drooping fuel prices were the main driver of the steep decline, plunging 33.2% in March; prices of other commodities fell too. The prices of minerals, ores, metals, food and agricultural raw materials fell by less than 4%.

UNCTAD expects international trade to fall to 27% in the next quarter, as the virus tightens its grip over the globe. It also opined that the pandemic is taking more toll on low-skilled, low-wage jobs than higher-skilled jobs. Consequently, it further augment income inequality within and between countries.