Standard Chartered has released new research indicating that trade corridors in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East will exceed the global growth rate by nearly four percentage points. This surge in growth is expected to drive export volumes in these regions from USD 9tn in 2021 to USD 14.4tn by 2030. The report, titled “Future of Trade 2030: New growth corridors,” predicts that global trade during the same period will reach USD 32.6tn, up from USD 21tn in 2021.
Based on an analysis of historical trade data and projections until 2030, the study identifies thirteen key markets that are anticipated to account for 73 percent of all exports and 69 percent of all imports in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. These markets, with a combined total trade value of USD 19.7tn, will be led by Mainland China, India, and South Korea in terms of volume.
Simon Cooper, CEO of Corporate, Commercial & Institutional Banking and CEO of Europe and Americas at Standard Chartered, emphasizes the growth opportunities within global trade, particularly within dynamic regions. Cooper suggests that businesses are diversifying their sourcing and manufacturing decisions, a trend that is highlighted by the research. He also notes that the adoption of digital supply chain finance solutions could significantly impact export growth.
The study further predicts a shift in international trade away from the West, with a southward and outward movement. South Asia is expected to be the fastest-growing export region, benefiting from strong trade ties with neighboring regions. Notable factors contributing to this growth include the recent free trade agreement between India and the UAE and Bangladesh’s plans to establish over 100 special economic zones by 2030.
Table: High-growth corridors in ASEAN, South Asia, Africa and the Middle East will outpace the global trade growth rate of 5 per cent by 2030
|Corridor||Average Annual Growth Rate (2021-2030)||Size (USD 2030)|
|Intra – ASEAN||8.7%||0.8tn|
|South Asia – ASEAN||8.6%||0.3tn|
|South Asia – Africa||8.2%||0.2tn|
|South Asia – Middle East||7.0%||0.5tn|
|East Asia – ASEAN||6.3%||2.1tn|
|Intra – East Asia||3.4%||2.2tn|
To gain insights into trade growth drivers and challenges faced by businesses, Standard Chartered surveyed over 100 C-suite and senior leaders from global companies. The research identified the top five concerns of these leaders as rising geopolitical conflicts and tensions, high and volatile energy and commodity prices, poor infrastructure quality, high inflation, and sanctions, tariffs, and export bans.
Based on this data and insights from their previous report in 2021, Standard Chartered introduces a response framework focusing on three areas: rebalance through supply chain reconfigurations to diversify risks, use of technology to increase reliability, transparency, and resilience, and enablement of end-to-end ESG compliant supply chains for sustainable trade. These areas, supported by ten initiatives, provide businesses with the tools to formulate effective strategies to navigate the changing landscape of trade and emerging trade flows.
One of the key tools highlighted is the adoption of digital supply chain finance (SCF) solutions. These solutions offer various benefits, including better visibility of capital flows, tracking of ESG commitments, increased participation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and enhanced trade. According to the research, SCF solutions have the potential to boost exports by USD 791bn by 2030 in the thirteen key markets of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Additionally, they could help bridge the global trade finance gap estimated to exceed USD 2tn by 2022, as per the Asian Development Bank’s estimation.