Snapshot: International Trade Environment

The International environment continues to be challenging.

After pandemic-curbing measures around the world cut economic growth in 2020, global GDP rebounded sharply in 2021, spurring consumption and trade. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, global trade value reached a record $28.5 trillion in 2021, up 25 percent from 2020 and up 13 percent from 2019.

China was the first country to go into lockdown to stem the spread of Covid-19, and the first country to emerge and resume economic growth – as China’s agricultural imports soared during 2020 and 2021, up 54 percent compared to 2019, led by feedstuffs such as soybeans and corn. However, hard line COVID-19 responses to the omicron variant have put a shockwave through the Chinese economy and added pressures on to international supply chains and logistics.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – and the potential loss of Ukrainian exports – was the latest development to push commodity prices higher. Other factors affecting global markets, which date back to late 2020, include: increased global demand, led by China; drought-reduced supplies; tightening wheat, corn, and soybean stocks in major exporting countries; high energy prices pushing up the costs of fertilizer, transportation, and agricultural production; and countries imposing export bans and restrictions, further tightening supplies.

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