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Global services trade set to grow by 44% to $9.6trn in next 5 years: Convera report

Tuesday, 6 June 2023

Get insights into how global trade will evolve in the face of the shifting geopolitical, economic and environmental realities.

The global services trade is set to rapidly increase in value in the next five years thanks to accelerated digitization and automation, according to a new report from Convera, the global B2B payments provider. The Future of Trade and B2B Payments Report estimates that the value of global services trade will grow by 44% from 2023 to 2028, reaching a value of $9.6 trillion in 2028.

The report, supported by Oxford Economics, offers insights into how global trade will evolve in the face of shifting geopolitical, economic and environmental realities. Its findings have implications for the demand for B2B cross border payments services as increasing digitization leads to a significant boost in the trade of B2B international services, which range from communications to marketing, financial services, education, tourism and environmental services.

The report notes that the low-carbon transition will transform global goods trade patterns, with the value of global goods trade expected to grow by 30% from 2023-2028, reaching $27.9 trillion in 2028. The net zero transition will further boost capital and consumer goods trade due to increased demand for goods like renewable components and electric vehicles.

Global commerce has remained resilient despite the pandemic and geopolitical tensions, with total cross-border trade increasing by 24% over the 2019-2022 period. Overall, the value of global trade is expected to grow by $10 trillion (+33%) to a total of $39.8 between 2023 and 2028. While the global economy looks set for a sustained period of weakness through 2023-24, longer term prospects for global trade look brighter. There will be shifts in traditional patterns of trade driven by factors such as efforts to improve supply chain resilience and trade policies of governments becoming linked with other objectives, such as the low-carbon transition.

“Despite the shocks that have affected global trade over the past few years, global interconnectedness remains as important as ever to businesses seeking improved cost efficiencies and increased revenue opportunities,” said Convera CEO Patrick Gauthier. “With accelerated digitization and automation, we expect B2B trade to be a key driver of growth in the coming years.” he continued.

“The low-carbon transition will also transform global goods trade patterns, creating new business opportunities and challenges. Whether diversifying physical and financial supply chains, or re-evaluating future business models and growth opportunities, the goal of this report is to provide business executives with forward-looking market insights to help inform the decisions they are making now which will re-shape their international operations over the next three to five years.”

The report emphasizes the crucial role of trade policies in shaping geopolitical ties and achieving environmental goals, which will in turn impact future trade flow patterns. Rivalries between Western governments and China regarding technology and knowledge flows are expected to create opportunities for emerging economies in Asia, such as South Korea, which possess low costs and sophisticated manufacturing capabilities.

While trade policies that align with environmental and climate objectives, like the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), offer opportunities for sustainable growth, they may disrupt traditional trade patterns. As a consequence, regionalized trade is expected to increase, reflecting changing dynamics in the global marketplace.

The report highlights how these shifting patterns in global trade are impacting demand for frictionless B2B payments. Convera has seen demand for its automated payment solutions increase significantly over the past five years. The share of payment volumes processed via automated payment methods (e.g., API) increased globally from 36.8% in 2019 to 49.1% by 2023.

There’s also been an increase in demand from customers to mitigate currency risk, and future-proof their payments and profit margins, as a result of consistent hikes in interest rates. Convera’s hedging transaction volumes increased by 53.5% between 2019 and 2022 with an acceleration occurring between 2021 and 2022 (+29.4% y/y).

Business interoperability remains a key challenge still, as businesses need to work with multiple banks and payments systems, in different countries and currencies. These are complex processes that lead to unexpected risks that affect customers, compliance operations and regulators.

CEO Patrick Gauthier concluded: “As international trade and cross-border business continues to grow, it remains critically important for global institutions to develop solutions that address the cross-border payment frictions that can delay growth. Implementing faster, more secure, and cost-effective payments is an area where businesses continue to focus attention, as legacy manual processes hold firms back from creating the scale and efficiencies they need to grow.”


The Future of Trade and B2B Payments report, commissioned by Convera, analyzed historical trade data on goods from the United Nations (UN Comtrade Database) and services from the World Trade Organisation (balance of payments database) to model future forecasts for trade over the next five years. These findings were then benchmarked against GDP forecasts and other data sources to ensure consistency. 

This top-down macroeconomic forecasting approach is less prone to data inconsistencies than a bottom up (micro) approach. The latter can be more vulnerable to over or underestimation when based on a small sample of firm level data.

The full report is available to view here:

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