The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) today released the Global Survey 2014: Rethinking Trade and Finance, its largest and most comprehensive Global Survey to date – including data from 298 banks across 127 countries. The Survey concludes that the growth rate of international trade has dropped drastically when compared to the years prior to the global financial crisis.
Global trade growth was a shade above 3% during 2013, although picked up to an annualized growth rate of 4% during the first quarter of 2014 and is anticipated to accelerate beyond 5% through 2016.
“We are cautiously optimistic, with a realization that this optimism is framed within a fragile international trade environment,” said Vincent O’Brien, Member of the ICC Banking Commission Executive Committee. “The fragility is magnified by unpredictable political developments on the fringes of Europe, the Middle East, South East Asia and other part of the emerging world.”
Further encouragement came from the survey with 68% of respondents reporting positively that the availability of trade finance increased by value compared to the previous year. However, in terms of the “trade finance gaps”, 41% of respondents reported that they perceived a shortfall of trade finance globally. According to Mr O’Brien: “This gap remains a major challenge, especially for SMEs as without access to trade finance, now widely acknowledged as an engine of growth, SMEs will not be able to contribute substantially towards economic recovery and development.”
The ICC Global Survey also highlighted that G20 countries accounted for three quarters of the trade restrictive measures imposed since 2008, with Word Trade Organization figures showing that these countries introduced 193 new trade restrictive measures between December 2012 and November 2013. Such restrictions – many of which are protectionist and therefore trade distorting – have stalled the agenda to open up world trade.
Click here to download the report.