Emerging countries are still on the map

14 June, 2021

Related to the covid-19 pandemic, I have at several occasions urged for more global vaccination solidarity – also in this blog. Really poor but also the somewhat more favored emerging countries have been for a long time – and still are – dramatically undersupplied with vaccines. Finally, the Indian drama was recognized in our part of the world. Africa was sometimes touched upon – but by far too little. Latin America was also neglected painfully – even Brazil. The following graph demonstrates that many countries and politicians really should feel ashamed https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/cumulative-covid-vaccinations-continent?country=Africa~Asia~Europe~North+America~Oceania~South+America.

If you wish, you can regularly join the updated global vaccination numbers according to the following source, also country by country https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations .

Whatever one may think politically, it cannot be neglected that President Biden has provided the emerging world with new hope and solidarity for the fight against corona. Hopefully, the mentioned numbers of additional vaccines at the G7 meeting in Cornwall can be kept alive or – preferably – be widened further.

Maybe the emerging world now also enters a new period of international multilateralism. This would be desirable and the only way forward for poor countries. We have seen too much bilateralism in the past years, mainly driven by the U.S., the UK and China.

In my view, bilateralism is also a crucial enemy for combatting the worsening global environment efficiently enough.


Hubert Fromlet
Affiliate Professor at the School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University
Editorial board


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IfW Kiel launches new global trade indicator – also for emerging countries

2 June, 2021

The Kiel Institute for World Economics (IfW Kiel) has been a leading institution for research on international trade and economics for many years. A lot of interesting papers and forecasts have been published during a long time. When I recently re-visited the website of the institute, I found the official introduction of the newly developed “Kiel Trade Indicator” (KTI).


Description of the indicator

KTI summarizes exports and imports of 75 countries to a global index and also for the EU as a subgroup. But trade numbers for exports and imports can also be found for each of these 75 countries – with new updated numbers around the 3rd and the 20th of every month. A forecast for the following month is included.

Particularly interesting is the approach of applying algorithm with machine learning and AI in a real-time environment. Goods-transporting ships are registered when they are entering or leaving 500 ports worldwide. Furthermore, another 100 ship movements in maritime regions are added.

In my view, good transparency should be applied in the future by IfW Kiel when quality evaluations finally take place – particularly since a new and modern modeling technology is applied. How does this approach work?

Current situation somewhat dampened

Some weakening export developments compared to the previous month could be observed in May both globally (-1.4%) and for the EU (-4,7%), the United States (-2.2%), Germany (-1,7%), China (-1.0) and India (-2.4%).

The Kiel economists explain the currently slightly shrinking world trade with rising commodity prices and shortages of certain industrial products, possible also with rising costs for transports.

However, positive export numbers for June are, for example, predicted for   Italy, Poland, Germany, Spain, Canada, Japan and India – but not for the U.S. and China. Summarizing these impressions, one should conclude that world trade will remain dampened in June. But this does not rule out a more significant upswing of global trade in the second half of 2021.



Hubert Fromlet
Affiliate Professor at the School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University
Editorial board


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Brazil in big corona troubles – next year’s presidential election the only hope?

6 May, 2021

Brazil’s political, economic and social developments remain a mass. Currently, there is almost no light on the horizon.

The social misery (apart from the – since many years back – well-known problems): Covid-19 is a nightmare for this giant country, causing mountains of pain and sorrow. Officially, Brazilian infection (incidence) numbers are currently in relative terms even lower than in Sweden – but most probably much higher than reported (officially 15 million infections which is 7 % of the whole population and more than 400 000 deaths; 7 % is also the share for  the fully vaccinated people https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/).

The political misery: Jair Bolsonaro’s presidency has been widely failing, probably also to a high extent in the eyes of his conservative supporters from the presidential election in 2018. Is does not either seem probably that the Brazilian corporate sector can be happy so far with Bolsonaro’s efforts and results. His empathy for the terrible covid-19 disease must be regarded as completely insufficient – despite the fact that he personally was infected as well.

Consequently, many Brazilians see their hope for a better future in a promising change of president in October 2022, hopefully beyond the acute covid-19-crisis. What Brazil primarily needs are major improvements of institutions and education, now and in the longer run.

Can former union leader and Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2011) really be able to run for presidency in 2022 year’s elections? He may be eligible again after the Brazilian Supreme Court justice had turned down severe corruption charges against him. Anyway, during his time as a president, Lula achieved some progress in education and socially – but to what extent can he leave the previous accusations of corruption behind?

The economic misery: Looking at the current economic situation, does not make things better. There is no preliminary result for GDP in Q1 yet – but survey results for PMI indices have come down more recently. Furthermore, interest rates have been hiked in 2021, and unemployment has been climbing up. Brazil’s hope for an economic recovery is certainly related to visible progress in the fight against corona – but in the short run possibly even more to a global economic recovery and to better conditions for Brazilians exports already in the forthcoming quarters.

In the meanwhile, we also should hope for relief in the terrible Indian pandemic!


Hubert Fromlet
Affiliate Professor at the School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University
Editorial board


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