Asia-Europe in Five-Year Trade Boom


Trade from China and Southeast Asia to North America and Europe is expected to boom in the next five years, according to new analysis released today by IHS.

The World Trade Service of IHS Maritime & Trade forecasts that China’s trade will continue to increase by more than 5% per year between 2015 and 2020, despite recent concerns that the Chinese economy has hit a slump, which could potentially be worsened by the stock market crash.

Krispen Atkinson, Principal Analyst at IHS Maritime & Trade, said: “These increases will not be the double-digit rises seen before the 2008 global economic crisis. However, an increase of over 30% in the next five years underscores China’s intent to remain a new trade hub-and spoke lynchpin for the rest of the economic world, cementing the Maritime Silk Road Initiative via China and Asia within the emerging market universe.”

One new trend is the move towards larger container ships to streamline the supply chain. The four alliances that dominate east-west trade are pushing the trend towards containerships capable of carrying 20,000 TEU, in their quest to reduce unit costs with ever more efficient vessels.

“China may be the major powerhouse in the region, but Southeast Asia is making significant headway,” Atkinson said.

Vietnam’s exports are estimated to increase by 44% by 2020. IHS forecasts a 44% increase in trade between Vietnam and North America and a 43% increase in trade between Vietnam and Europe in the next five years.

Atkinson continued: “In terms of actual cargo, the figures are still low when compared with China’s, but these are still huge jumps for these economies.

Trade routes from China to Africa are expected to see a marked increase over the next five years, with the highest growth expected to be seen from the East African to China route, incorporating Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Atkinson concluded: “Trade between East Africa and China is expected to increase by 91% by 2020. It’s all around manufactured goods. East Africa is becoming a new hub for the Chinese.”

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