The executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alícia Bárcena, said on Thursday that the region will be the most affected by the effects of the new coronavirus on international trade. In the report called “The effects of covid-19 on international trade and logistics”, detailed by Bárcena, it was highlighted that the value of exports should fall 23% and imports 25% in 2020. The indexes surpass the results of the financial crisis of 2008-2009.
The forecasts were made based on the indicators already registered this year. World trade, says the report of the Eclac, accumulates a 17% drop between January and May 2020. In this context, the Latin American region will be the most affected. “The sectors that fall back and contribute to this scenario are those of manufacturing, mining and fuels,” he said. Alice Bárcena, while showing graphics. In the first five months of this year, shipments of exports from Latin America e do Caribe for the United States, they dropped 22.2%. In the case of the European Union (EU), the fall was 14.3% and among the countries of the region, the fall registered 23.9%.
But exports from Latin America and the Caribbean to China fell much less – were below 2% between January and May 2020 and returned to show growth in April and May, points out the report of the Eclac, when the world’s second economy reopened. Commodity exports from the region to Chinese territory are again decisive for the region with the risk, as Bárcena said, of the dependence on the “primarization” of Latin American economies. Grains, minerals and oil are among the most exported to the Asian country.
ECLAC’s forecast for the whole of 2020 further highlights China’s importance to Latin America and the Caribbean in the context of international trade. The biggest drop in regional exports will be to the United States (32%). Then to the region itself (trade between Latin American countries, 28%) and to China, exports should fall by only 4%.
Against this background, the new coronavírus should not affect the movement of many ports in the region – if, for example, the porto de Rosario, in the Argentine province of Santa Fe, as ECLAC pointed out. But employment will be strongly affected, since the industrial production chain includes small and medium-sized companies. The tourism sector – but mainly air transport – will have a historic fall in 2020, according to the Cepal. What is already known, just over six months after the start of the pandemic in the world.