Matthieu Crozet, Banu Demir, Beata Javorcik, 20 December 2021

Global trade fell sharply during the first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic. This column analyses the use of letters of credit to insure trade flows during the crisis. Using product-specific data on reliance on trade insurance, it demonstrates that trade flows insured by letters of credit were more resilient than other flows. In general, the impact of letters of credit are stronger for exports to countries with a high number of Covid-19 cases. The significant effects of trade insurance thus suggest that uncertainty played an important role in driving the trade collapse in 2020.

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