Type to search

War in Ukraine, China Lockdowns Causing a Plunge in World Trade

Ukraine conflict has knocked 2.8% off world trade over last two months. And the Kiel Trade Indicator says China trade faces ‘stagnation’, due to the Covid lockdown in Shanghai

Indian exports
"Future disruptions in China's trade are by no means off the table," said Vincent Stamer of the Kiel Trade Indicator. Photo: Reuters


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused a 2.8% drop in world trade between February and March, data released on Wednesday show.

Container freight traffic has already slumped by half at Russia’s three largest ports – St Petersburg, Vladivostok, and Novorossiysk, according to the Kiel Institute of the World Economy.

Ukraine is practically cut off from international maritime trade. No large container ship has called at the country’s most important port, Odesa, on the Black Sea, since the outbreak of war.

“The sanctions imposed by the west are clearly having an effect, and the Russian population is facing an increasingly scarce supply of goods from abroad,” said Vincent Stamer, head of Kiel Trade Indicator, the institute’s trade index.

Stamer said China trade also faces “stagnation”, due largely to the Covid-related lockdown of the Shanghai metropolitan region.

While the institute’s figures for March do not yet reflect China’s lockdowns, he said “future disruptions in China’s trade are by no means off the table”.

Stamer said 12% of all goods shipped worldwide are either stuck in port or at sea.

“Of concern is the significant increase in global container ship congestion, which can also be attributed to lockdowns in China,” he said.


  • George Russell




Chinese Trade With Russia Feels Sting of Ukraine, Sanctions

US Trade Chief Tai Says China Must be Pushed to Change

Container shortage crisis stacking pressure on China’s export recovery



George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


AF China Bond