TFG Weekly Trade Briefing, 18th May 2020

Your Monday morning coffee briefing from TFG. Economies around the world continue to open up in support of generating economic activities, limited by social distancing restrictions.

Latest on COVID-19

From mid-May the government has announced a “conditional plan” for the gradual easing of the UK’s lockdown. In the second half of this month it will mean the return of some activity in manufacturing, construction and real estate. In June some schools will reopen, as will non-essential shops. This partial reopening will recover some activity from the trough reached during the full lockdown.

UK ONS Trade Figures Release

The total trade deficit, excluding precious metals, narrowed by £1.3 billion to £2.3 billion in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2020. The narrowing of the underlying total trade deficit in Quarter 1 2020 was largely driven by a £13.3 billion fall in imports, partly offset by a £12.0 billion fall in exports.
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Government to support businesses through Trade Credit Insurance guarantee

Businesses with supply chains which rely on Trade Credit Insurance and who are experiencing difficulties maintaining cover due to Coronavirus will get support from the government, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen has announced. Read more →

Afreximbank bucks COVID-19 on course to raise over US$1 billion in syndicated loan

Afreximbankvaulted market uncertainties caused by COVID 19 pandemic to successfully conclude a dual-currency Syndicated Loan, raising the equivalent of US$907.5 million, comprising two tranches of US$485 million and EUR390.4 million. Proceeds will be used for general corporate activities, and will strengthen the Bank’s liquidity position as it implements its US$3 billion Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA). Read more →

How the collapse of Hin Leong Trading should accelerate the adoption of technology for trade finance

Hin Leong Trading’s, founded by Singaporean oil tycoon Lim Oon Kuin, collapse sends shockwaves through industry leading businesses to significantly embrace digital transformation. Hin Leong racked up US$3.6b of debt owed collectively to 23 banks, with more than US$598m owed to its largest lender HSBC. TFG heard from trade expert John Khaw, a 2020 participant of the International Trade Professionals Programme (ITPP). Read more →

UK plans to cut tariffs on U.S. agricultural imports

The United Kingdom is planning to cut tariffs on U.S. agricultural imports to advance progress on a free trade agreement. The Department for International Trade was considering a “big concession package” to negotiators from the United States over the coming months to cut the cost of certain agricultural imports. Read more →

Saudi Arabia to make further oil supply cuts

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE will further cut oil production next month in a bid to support historically low oil prices. A Saudi energy ministry official said new cuts would bring total Saudi production down by around 4.8 million bpd in June versus April. Output would then stand at 7.492 million bpd, the lowest in almost two decades. Read more →