What will global trade look like after the war?


Expert believes in the division into "two distinct blocks". The world has faced (or is still facing) two consecutive global crises: the pandemic and the war between Russia and Ukraine. Given the current situation, there are experts warning of long-lasting problems and changes in global supply chains and trade.

"If the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the need to shorten supply chains, the war in Ukraine underscores the importance of having reliable trading partners," Peter Martin, director of research at research firm Wood Mackenzie, told 'CNBC'.

The energy markets have been among the worst hit, having soared as soon as Russia decided to invade Ukraine, which led Western countries to impose several sanctions on Moscow.

By now, the European Union is already applying the sixth package of sanctions to the country led by Vladimir Putin, where it has agreed to ban 90% of Russian oil imports by the end of this year. Russia has already responded, saying that it will find other importers, and there is data showing that oil purchases from both China and India have already risen sharply this year.

Natural gas was also at risk in the bloc, with the EU receiving about 40% of this resource through Ukraine. Finally, being considered the "breadbasket" of the world, exports of resources such as wheat and barley were also affected.

"These forces can lead to a lasting realignment of global trade. The global economy becomes more regionalized - shorter supply chains with 'trusted' partners," adds Martin.

What will happen to trade blocs?

Although the expert told the publication that there will not be an end to globalization, he explained that there may be a reorganization of global trade into two or more "distinct blocs."

In a first bloc, Martin put the European Union, the United States and allies such as the United Kingdom and Japan, and another bloc where there will be countries that try not to take sides.

"There will be a bloc of nations like China and India that maintain trade with both the sanctioning allies and Russia - so they could take more energy and resources from Russia, but they need to maintain good relations with the large economies in the first bloc, which account for a significant proportion of their export demand," Martin said.

Source: AICEP Portugal

What will happen to the trade routes?

"Trade routes by land and sea and the volumes passing through them will be impacted," Martin said, because since the beginning of the war there have been many carriers avoiding the Black Sea, where Russia's military activity has blocked commercial transport, which has also caused congestion at other European ports, which have been forced to change routes.

Who are the winners and the losers?

For the expert, these changes in trade routes and blocks would be beneficial to Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa.

"Exports will be diverted, requiring new markets to be found for goods and services, as well as logistics put in place to accommodate the new trade flows," he said.

On the biggest loser, Martin cites Russia, "for, while it may spin off some trade links, it will be excluded from a large proportion of the global economy."