Our new Trade20 index reveals the rising stars of global trade

Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya and Ireland join India and China in the top five of 20 markets with the greatest potential for future trade growth

London – New research from Standard Chartered reveals the 20 markets with the greatest potential for future trade growth. The Trade20 index demonstrates that while existing trade powers like China and India continue to rapidly improve their potential, smaller trading nations are also making swift progress towards increased trade growth.

Fifteen of the Trade20 markets are in Asia-Pacific, Africa or the Middle East, and emerging markets dominate. Smaller, emerging markets like Côte d’Ivoire – at number one in the index – Kenya and Oman are on an upward trajectory, progressing at pace from a relatively low starting point. Buoyed by regional trade deals and liberalising economies, several ASEAN countries including Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines also rank highly. Ireland, as the highest performing European market, owes its high ranking to its economic dynamism driven by increased levels of foreign direct investment.

The research determined each market’s potential for trade growth by analysing changes across a wide range of variables over the last decade. These were grouped into three equally-weighted pillars: economic dynamism, trade readiness and export diversity.

José Viñals, Group Chairman, Standard Chartered: “The Trade20 index points towards the strong potential of a number of markets outside the China-US-Europe trade axis. With rising protectionism casting a shadow over the future of world trade, it is encouraging that many emerging markets are still improving their trade growth potential for the medium term, forging new regional trade deals to make this happen.

“Markets that are demonstrating the most impressive pace of progress may represent interesting opportunities for corporates seeking new investment, import and supply chain partners. With healthy trade fundamental to economic growth and prosperity, the Trade20 represent the rising stars of global trade: Those with the greatest potential for future trade growth.”

Key findings are:

The ASEAN accelerators

  • The Trade20 points to accelerated Asian trade growth potential, with particularly impressive performances by Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. Regional trade deals, infrastructure improvements, and legislative reforms are promoting increased openness.

China: the engine of global growth

  • The research shows that the higher a market’s trade growth with China, the better that market performs in terms of economic dynamism and trade readiness, showing that China is a major force for dynamic improvement in markets both near and far.

India: promising improvements

  • India performs well in the Trade20, largely driven by its trade readiness performance. The government’s efforts to prioritise trade as a key engine of growth and make the country more attractive to business are keeping it on an upward trajectory.

Financial hubs remain in the ascendant

  • Banking centres Hong Kong and Singapore rank much higher than most other developed economies, demonstrating progress in trade growth potential despite their market status. Their key strength is economic dynamism: already-high levels of foreign direct investment continue to increase.

Three markets lead the way for Africa

  • Some markets that were lacking trade potential momentum until recently are now growing and modernising their economies: Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya are leading the pack and Ghana also performs well. Improvements in trade readiness – in particular infrastructure investments and increasing ease-of-doing business scores – is behind their impressive Trade20 rankings.

Middle Eastern markets diversify

  • Three Middle Eastern markets achieve a place in the Trade20: Oman, the UAE and Bahrain, propelled by export diversity improvements. This indicates the economies that are successfully moving away from over-reliance on oil.

Ireland stands out in Europe

  • European markets mostly rank outside the Trade20, predominantly because they are developed economies so the space to grow their trade potential further is limited. Multinational magnet Ireland stands out as a notable exception: it is the only EU country to appear in the Trade20, driven primarily by its high levels of economic dynamism.

In Latin America, Chile pulls ahead

  • Unlike emerging markets in other regions, Latin American economies score less well. Chile is the only American market to achieve a place in the Trade20, with its scores propelled by infrastructure and e-commerce improvements.

Trade20 examines 12 metrics across 66 global markets – the major global economies plus the major economies in each region – to reveal the 20 economies that are most rapidly improving their potential for trade growth.

While most traditional trade indices are based on a market’s present performance, the Trade20 index captures changes over time to reveal the markets that have seen the most improvement over the last decade. This reveals the economies where recent positive developments may point to an acceleration in trade growth potential.

View the Trade20 report here.

For further information please contact:

Josephine Wong
Group Media Relations
+65 6596 4690

Trade20 index and methodology

Trade20 examines 12 metrics across 66 global markets – the major global economies plus the major economies in each region – to reveal the 20 that are most rapidly improving their potential for trade to grow.

The Trade20 index
1. Côte d’Ivoire
2. India
3. Kenya
4. China
5. Ireland
6. Vietnam
7. Indonesia
8. Thailand
9. Oman
10. UAE
11. Hong Kong
12. Russia
13. Ghana
14. Sri Lanka
15. Bahrain
16. Singapore
17. Switzerland
18. Chile
19. Turkey
20. Philippines

These markets are identified by measuring changes in 12 metrics under three pillars: economic dynamism (foreign direct investment, export and GDP growth), trade readiness (infrastructure, e-commerce, and ease of doing business) and export diversity (the range of exports).

While most traditional trade indices are based on a market’s present performance, our index captures changes over time to reveal the markets that have seen the most improvement during the last decade. This enables us to identify the economies where recent positive developments may point to an acceleration in trade growth potential. Higher exports are strongly correlated with higher imports, of both capital and consumer goods, offering opportunities for companies worldwide. A high ranking also suggests a market that is improving as a possible outsourcing location.

It is important to note that some markets are progressing fast from a low starting point, while others are moving quickly from an already-high starting point. The study does not look at the trade growth potential of each market in absolute terms, but at its individual potential for trade growth relative to its size. In absolute terms, large economies will, of course, offer greater potential and opportunity overall than smaller ones.

To view the Trade20 video visit: sc.com/trade20

Standard Chartered

We are a leading international banking group, with a presence in 60 of the world’s most dynamic markets, and serving clients in a further 85. Our purpose is to drive commerce and prosperity through our unique diversity, and our heritage and values are expressed in our brand promise, Here for good.

Standard Chartered PLC is listed on the London and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges as well as the Bombay and National Stock Exchanges in India.

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