Key statistics and trends in international trade 2021

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on international trade

Trade trends for 2020 have been greatly influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic disruptions brought by COVID-19 resulted in a decline in international trade in goods and services of about 10 per cent. Trade in services declined considerably more than trade in goods. Available data for 2021 indicates that trade strongly rebounded during 2021, with the value of merchandise trade considerably surpassing its 2019 values.

Trade in services remained below its 2019 levels even in 2021. Overall, COVID-19 reinforced the volatile pattern of global trade observed during the last fifteen years. Still, the effects of the COVID-19 economic downturn on global trade have been remarkable because of their rapidity and intensity, both in relation to the decline and to the rebound.

This report is structured into two parts.

The first part presents a short-term overview of the status of international trade using preliminary statistics on merchandise trade up to the third quarter of 2021.

The second part provides illustrative statistics on international trade in goods and services covering the medium term. The second part is divided into two sections.

  • Section 1 provides trade statistics at various levels of aggregation illustrating the evolution of trade across economic sectors and geographic regions.
  • Section 2 presents some of the most used trade indicators at the country level, to illustrate trade performance across countries.