This edition of International Trade Outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean covers 2020 and is divided into three chapters. Chapter I reviews the performance of global and regional trade following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in January 2020. The rapid spread of the virus and the drastic measures taken by governments to reduce the risk of contagion have hit the global economy hard, and in 2020 it will experience its worst recession since the 1930s. In this context, global trade in goods and services contracted heavily in the first half of the year, although an incipient recovery began to take shape in the second half. For the year overall, the volume of world trade in goods is projected to fall by nearly 9%, not as sharp a fall as occurred in 2009 during the global financial crisis (-13%). Although the region’s external trade in both goods and services has been hit hard by the pandemic, there has been a recovery in goods exports since June, driven mainly by an upturn in demand in China and the United States. Conversely, imports have yet to show signs of significant upturn, reflecting the severity of the recession in the region. For the year overall, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) projects falls of 13% and 20%, respectively, in the value of regional exports and imports of goods. Intraregional trade, which will be particularly badly affected, is projected to fall by 24% in value terms, with highly adverse impacts on the region’s manufacturing exports.

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