New Delhi:

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a three per cent drop in global trade in the first quarter of 2020 and this downturn is expected to accelerate in the next quarter to project a whopping quarter-on-quarter decline of 27 per cent, the UN trade body has warned.


The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in a report that the drop in global trade was accompanied by marked decreases in commodity prices, which have fallen precipitously since December last year.


The report is a product of cooperation between the international statistics community and national statistical offices and systems around the world, coordinated by UNCTAD.


"Everywhere governments are pressed to make post-Covid-19 recovery decisions with long-lasting consequences," said UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi.


The coronavirus pandemic cut global trade values by 3 per cent in the first quarter of this year, according to the latest data published in the joint report by 36 international organisations.


The downturn is expected to accelerate in the second quarter, with global trade projected to record a quarter-on-quarter decline of 27 per cent, said the report compiled by the Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities (CCSA).


UNCTAD's free market commodity price index (FMCPI), which measures the price movements of primary commodities exported by developing economies, lost 1.2 per cent of its value in January, 8.5 per cent in February and a whopping 20.4 per cent in March, it said.


Plummeting fuel prices were the main driver of the steep decline, plunging 33.2 per cent in March, while prices of minerals, ores, metals, food and agricultural raw materials tumbled by less than 4 per cent.