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Virus lockdowns decimate global services exports, WTO report says

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The global services sector remained depressed in the third quarter of 2020 amid travel and work restrictions, lagging a full recovery in goods trade, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Worldwide trade in services fell 24 percent from July through September compared with a year earlier, a slight improvement from a 30-percent plunge in the second quarter, according to the report published on the WTO web site Tuesday. Data for November indicated that services trade was still 16 percent below 2019 levels, the Geneva-based organization said.

“Prospects for recovery remain poor since a second wave of Covid-19 infections necessitated new, stricter lockdown measures in many countries, with tightened restrictions on travel and related services extending into the first quarter of 2021,” the report said.

Travel remains the most affected services sector—down 68 percent versus the year prior. Global construction exports, audiovisual, artistic and recreational services also saw double-digit declines, according to the report. Hardest hit were exports of services in the US, which dropped 24 percent, and the UK which decreased 15 percent from a year earlier.

The WTO said preliminary figures based on customs data from 72 countries—accounting for 92 percent of global merchandise trade—suggest that the rebound in the movement of physical goods that started in the second half of the year accelerated in October and November. The value of global merchandise trade in October was 3 percent higher than a year earlier and 6 percent higher in November, it said.

Image credits: Bloomberg photo

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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