The World Trade Organization (WTO) believes the world has managed to avoid a predicted worst-case scenario for the economy as a result of coronavirus.
Economists said the volume of merchandise trade had fallen by a record amount during the first few months of 2020, but pointed out that the decline was not as severe as had been expected.
Indeed, the group predicted in April that global trade in goods could fall by as much as 32 per cent over the course of the year due to the pandemic.
However, estimates for the second quarter are now tentatively showing a drop of 18.5 per cent, closer to the minimum of 13 per cent that had been forecast.
Outgoing WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo said: "These declines are historically large, but could have been much worse."
Nevertheless, the WTO will now be closely monitoring the first signs of recovery for any indications of trade restrictions or a second wave of the virus.
This comes after the World Economic Forum said nations across the globe now have a "unique window of opportunity to shape the recovery" post-pandemic.