By  on June 25, 2012

The HSBC Global Connections Trade Forecast is projecting U.S. trade growth to rise 95 percent by 2026.

Similarly, it found that world trade volumes will grow by 98 percent by 2026. The forecast examines global trade trends over the next five, 10 and 15 years.

The study by HSBC Commercial Banking in association with Delta Economics, covers trade trends occurring in every region of the world. It concluded that U.S. companies will increase trade activity by 4.7 percent annually during the next decade as export growth rises with emerging market nations, fueled by their shift to consumption.

Looking ahead, the study found that in the next five years, U.S. export growth is expected to rise fastest in the emerging market countries, with Peru at 8.7 percent, followed by Turkey and Brazil. The latter two countries are expected to see growth of better than 8 percent.

Intra-regional trade will remain an important driver for U.S. firms, with Canada and Mexico — the U.S.’ top two export partners and ranking two and three, respectively, for imports — playing a significant role in the nation’s trade flows.

As for China, the annual growth rate for U.S. exports to the country is expected to outpace U.S. imports from the region during the next five years. By 2026, China and Germany are expected to become the world’s largest importers, beating the U.S., the study concluded.

On a shorter-term basis, the companion HSBC Trade Confidence Index found that U.S.-based importers and exporters were confident about their expected trade volumes over the next six months. The Index found that 59 percent of the U.S. firms anticipated an overall increase in trade volumes, up 10 percent from the last Index survey released in October 2011. The increase in confidence is due to optimism about the global economy, with 44 percent indicating that they expect it to improve by year end. That’s up from just 29 percent from those who responded a year ago when asked about the second half of 2011.

Steve Bottomley, senior executive vice president, head of Commercial Banking, HSBC, North America, said, “Traditional export-driven economies in ‘emerging’ markets are becoming more consumer-driven and importing more from high-end developed nation producers like the United States to fulfill demand.”

Given the shift and growth drivers, where should U.S. firms focus their attention?

The Index projects that the biggest gains in trade over the next five years will be in Latin America, up 6 percent, and Asia, set to rise 5.4 percent.

U.S. businesses participating in the latest survey of the Index, reported similar results: About 29 percent of U.S. firms see Latin America as the region providing the greatest opportunity for trade growth in the next six months, with 23 percent believing that China is the most promising region.

Brazil is expected to see the fastest annual import growth globally over the next five years at 7.7 percent, with annual growth in China forecast at 5.1 percent for imports and 4.7 percent for exports through 2016.

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