Global trade finance gap set record at 1.7 trillion USD in 2020, says ADB

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MANILA, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- The global trade finance gap grew to an all-time high of 1.7 trillion dollars in 2020, a 15-percent increase from two years earlier, as the pandemic heightened economic and financial uncertainties and devastated global trade, according to a latest survey released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday.

The Trade Finance Gaps, Growth, and Jobs survey showed that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were hardest hit as trade finance dried up with the spread of the COVID-19, accounting for 40 percent of rejected trade finance requests.

The gap, which represents the difference between requests and approvals for financing to support imports and exports, was at 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars in 2018.

"Trade is critical for the global economy to recover from the pandemic, but the financing shortfall makes it much harder to create jobs and growth," ADB Trade and Supply Chain Finance Head Steven Beck said.

"The challenges of trading businesses may be even steeper than our survey indicates, as many of them were deterred by the economic uncertainty from even applying for trade finance," Beck added.

The ADB said the survey is the world's leading barometer of trade finance health. The seventh survey includes 79 banks and 469 firms, covering all regions of the world.

According to the ADB, further digitalization of trade will help close the gap through new efficiencies, but more public sector support and global standards are required to realize this potential.

"To close the gap, we need to bring trade fully into the digital world through greater coordination with the private sector as well as global agreement on common standards, practices, and legislation," Beck added. Enditem

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