UAE trade volume up more than 13% in Q4 2020: report
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UAE trade volume up more than 13% in Q4 2020: report

UAE trade volume up more than 13% in Q4 2020: report

Global trade trend activity rises sharply as recovery builds momentum


The UAE supply chain activity saw Q4 2020 trade volumes increase by more than 13 per cent over a January 2020 baseline and nearly 30 per cent from the lowest point in the second quarter of the year.

New data from Tradeshift points to a significant recovery in global supply chain activity, with quarterly growth rates exceeding pre-pandemic levels by 14 per cent after a year of massive supply chain instability and disruptions.

Tradeshift, which facilitates supply chain payments and marketplaces, analysed digitised invoicing and ordering data for its latest ‘Index of Global Trade Health’ report.

The study suggests a particularly strong end to the year in the US, where the number of transactions between buyers and suppliers jumped 29 per cent in Q4, double the rate of growth seen globally during the period. Trade activity in the Eurozone rose 22 per cent compared to the previous quarter.

Read: UAE’s non-oil trade reaches Dhs1.033 trillion for January-September 2020

The latest data also shows strong order books among buyers in almost every region, suggesting news of a vaccine roll-out in December prompted organisations to press ahead with purchasing decisions that may have previously been delayed or cancelled.

UK recovery is losing ground
While business confidence appears to be improving, Tradeshift data shows that UK trade activity continued to struggle in Q4. Transaction volumes across the region grew just 7 per cent quarter on quarter and remained well below the levels seen before the pandemic. The combination of a significant drop in activity during Q2 and a weak recovery meant that UK trade activity finished the year 36 per cent below the pre COVID level in March 2020.

Trade activity in Western economies has only recently shown signs of returning to growth, but Tradeshift’s data shows businesses in China have been operating at near-normal capacity since April 2020. Cumulative transaction volume growth since Q2 stood at an incredible 118 per cent at the end of 2020 compared to an overall activity shortfall of 3.4 per cent globally during the same period.

“China has significantly outperformed the West by bouncing back quickly,” said Christian Lanng, CEO, Tradeshift. “The consistency we’re seeing in transaction data offers a level of predictability that has yet to return fully in other regions.”

Retail’s roller-coaster end to 2020
Looking at individual sectors at a global level, retail-led the way in Q4 reporting transaction growth of 34 per cent. In a roller-coaster year for the sector, transaction activity had dropped by as much as 36 per cent in Q2. Technology and manufacturing sectors were up by more than 16 per cent each. The transport and logistics sector, where activity has held relatively steady throughout the pandemic, had more modest gains but still managed a nearly 10 per cent growth in transactions compared to Q3.

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