The latest data shows that the world service trade volume fell by 4.3 percent in the first quarter of 2020. The WTO Services Trade Barometer was recorded on September 17, 2020, the weakest reading ever of the index at 95.6 unities.
Passenger air transport with 49.2 units has been the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the most significant decline ever recorded for any of the barometer's components. The numbers reflect the impact of the pandemic and the massive reduction of flights. The report points out that "the contraction in this sector has been sufficiently large as to weigh on total global services trade."
Other sectors, such as container shipping with 92.4 units, construction with 97.3 units, and the Global Services PMI with 97.0 units, also show a turnaround. Nevertheless, low rates are expected to remain at least in the second half of the year.
On the other hand, the Information and Communication Technologies services index decreased to 94.6 despite an increasing demand during the pandemic, the report highlights. The financial service index was the only one to remain on-trend until mid-Septemeber.
However, experts point out that the decline in the index is smaller than the figures reported during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. During that period, the world trade volume fell by 5.1 percent in the first quarter of 2009.