16/02/2022 08:26 PM

By Linda Khoo Hui Li

BANGKOK, Feb 16 -- The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region posted a double-digit growth in trade volume and value in the first nine months of 2021 due to the rebound in economic activity.

In a statement, the APEC Policy Support Unit said the volume of the region's merchandise exports and imports increased by 14 per cent and 16 per cent respectively compared to the same period in the previous year, when these were in the negative zone.

The value of merchandise trade, meanwhile, rose to 28.2 per cent for exports and 27.3 per cent for imports, driven by higher costs of fuel and manufactured products.

“The reasons for this surge are the combined effects of a rebound in economic activity, marked by a spike in demand, as well as a low base, since trade contracted in the last couple of years. The supply shocks also led to higher shipping and storage costs which fed into prices of exports and imports.

“Trade expanded in a broad range of manufactured goods, including iron and steel, chemicals, machineries, clothing and footwear, while trade in COVID-19-related goods such as pharmaceuticals and telecommunications equipment has remained strong,” it said.

In terms of trade in services, the report said there was a rebound in APEC’s commercial services by 11.1 per cent for exports and 9.2 per cent for imports in the first three quarters of 2021.

The increase in shipping rates boosted the performance of transport services, which grew by 26.8 per cent, while strong consumer demand pushed goods-related services to grow by 10.7 per cent in the first nine months 2021, it said.

APEC Policy Support Unit director Dr Denis Hew said, to sustain the recovery, member economies should remain united in their response and their priorities; that in the immediate period, they must ensure that people are healthy so that economies can recover, reopen and rebuild.

“Central to this is the free and rapid flow of medical supplies across borders to expand vaccination coverage, on which members agreed early last year,” he said.





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