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Infrastructure boosts trade

Emerging markets are set to play an increasing role with investment in infrastructure to support long-term growth

Trade in goods and machinery for infrastructure such as roads, railways and power networks will triple by 2030, as emerging markets increase investment, according to HSBC’s latest Global Connections report.

Between 2013 and 2030 trade relating to infrastructure will grow at an average of 9 per cent a year, the report suggests.  Emerging markets are set to play an increasingly significant role with investment in infrastructure to support long-term growth.

Between 2013 and 2030 trade relating to infrastructure will grow at an average of 9 per cent a year, the report suggests

The Global Connections report includes the HSBC Trade Forecast, modelled by Oxford Economics for HSBC, based on HSBC’s analysis and forecasts of the world economy.  

By 2020 India will overtake the US to become the largest importer of goods for infrastructure – such as metals and minerals – as it builds new transport networks, power plants, offices and factories, according to the report.

China is set to become the top importer of investment equipment – such as specialised machinery – as it invests in manufacturing productivity and moves into increasingly sophisticated products. The report differentiates between goods for infrastructure – the materials needed for infrastructure projects; and investment equipment – the machinery required by businesses to boost production.

The report suggests that Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Vietnam are also set for rapid increases in infrastructure-related imports.

James Emmett, HSBC’s Global Head of Trade and Receivables Finance, said: “The investment that countries are making in infrastructure is phenomenal and provides a huge opportunity for businesses looking to grow and develop. Rising middle classes across Asia’s rapidly emerging markets will drive significant infrastructure demand in the region.”

Largest importers of infrastructure-related goods by 2030:

Goods for infrastructure
1. India
2. USA
3. China
4. Hong Kong
5. Korea

Investment equipment
1. China
2. USA
3. Hong Kong
4. India
5. Malaysia

Source: Oxford Economics / HSBC*

Mr Emmett suggested that as China shifted its focus towards higher-value manufacturing, it would open up opportunities for developed economies to supply the country with sophisticated machinery.

The anticipated increase in demand for infrastructure will also create opportunities for exporters based in emerging markets. China is expected to increase its share of exports of goods for infrastructure to 34 per cent and of investment equipment to 39 per cent by 2030. 

Between 2013 and 2030 Brazil will rise from fifteenth to tenth in its share of global infrastructure-related exports, according to the report. Bangladesh, Vietnam and Malaysia are increasing exports of infrastructure goods at the fastest rate, albeit from a modest base.

World trade will grow at a modest pace to 2015 before accelerating between 2016 and 2020, according to the report. It also includes the HSBC Trade Confidence Index survey, which shows confidence holding steady over the past six months amid continued macroeconomic challenges.

For a copy of the Global Connections Trade Forecast report and for further information, please visit

*The HSBC Trade Forecast is modelled by Oxford Economics for HSBC.  Oxford Economics produces a global report, plus regional reports and country-specific reports on the following 25 countries and territories: Hong Kong, China, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Singapore, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Canada, USA, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, UK, France, Turkey, Germany, Poland, Ireland, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Korea, Japan and Egypt.  More information about the sector modelling can be found on

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