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Trade finance volumes robust as growth slows

Providers of trade finance remain bullish despite predictions that growth in global trade will stagnate during the remainder of this year.

Illustration: iStock

The latest data from UNCTAD – the intergovernmental organization that promotes the interests of developing countries in world trade – suggests that after the downturn in the second half of 2022, trade in goods rose by 1.9% in the first three months of 2023.

However, it expects zero growth for the remainder of the year, due to factors such as persistent inflation and financial vulnerabilities, along with the ongoing war in Ukraine and geopolitical tensions in other regions.

We have seen a dramatic increase in the number of transactions driven by embedded finance
Dave Skirzenski, Raistone

Marie-Laure Gastellu, head of trade services for global transaction and payment services at Societe Generale, acknowledges that cost has impacted demand for funded products. But she also refers to solid demand for guarantees and standby letters of credit, driven by corporate clients’ commitment to international projects and the needs of the energy transition and defence sectors.

“We see a strong demand from clients to work with them on sustainability-linked trade finance facilities as well as green guarantees,” adds Gastellu.