HSBC Sees Third Globalization Wave Quadrupling Trade by 2050

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Behind the pickup is the likelihood that there will be almost 3 billion new members of the middle class by 2050, most of them located in emerging markets.

Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg
  • HSBC predicting international commerce to total $68.5 trillion
  • Trade to rebound as rising population creates consumers

The world economy is on the cusp of a third wave of globalization that will help quadruple the value of international trade by 2050, according to HSBC Holdings Plc.

Commerce will reach $68.5 trillion a year at the mid-point of this century, reversing the slowdown in trade since the 2008 financial crisis, HSBC said in a report published on Tuesday. Trade should grow about 5 percent a year over the next decade, up from an average of 3 percent since 2011.

Behind the pickup is the likelihood that there will be almost 3 billion new members of the middle class by 2050, most of them located in emerging markets. Companies will also be able to adapt new technologies to reduce costs, while governments will pursue lower barriers to trade.

“The world’s population will continue to grow, which means there will be more people consuming more goods,” Stuart Tait, global head of trade and receivables finance at HSBC, said in the report.

HSBC identified 1865 to 1913 as the first wave of globalization and 1950 to 2007 as the second.

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