World Trade Organization (WTO) has predicted a severe decline in international commerce, estimating a contraction of between 13% and 32% in 2020. The organization has also indicated that global trade's impact is anticipated to exceed the slump caused by the financial crisis of 2007–2008. Experts fear that the pessimistic scenario would lead to a decline in world trade similar to that of the 'great depression' in a significantly shorter period.
The unavoidable shrinks in trade will adversely affect businesses and households on top of the disease’s suffering. A decline of 13% in global merchandise trade is described as a relatively optimistic scenario. It reflects a steep drop followed by a recovery starting in the second half of 2020.
The manufacturing slowdown in China, the central hub of many global business operations, could result in a loss of USD 50 billion in exports across international value chains, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Any disruption in manufacturing in one part of the world has a ripple effect on global economic activity due to interconnected value chains.
China's manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell to its lowest readings in almost two decades. Such a drop implies a 2% annual reduction in exports. Precision instruments, machinery, automotive, and communication equipment are some of the worst affected sectors, as per UNCTAD.
The affected economies include the European Union (USD 15.6 billion), United States (USD 5.8 billion), Japan (USD 5.2 billion), Republic of Korea (USD 3.8 billion), Taiwan Province of China (USD 2.6 billion), and Vietnam (USD 2.3 billion). This is significantly hampering the overall last-mile delivery market growth. While the initial pandemic response has mostly run its course, and the economy is reopening, businesses are under pressure to improvise their delivery systems by adding capacity, extending hours, and branching out into more products.
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