Russia’s war on Ukraine could shake up global trade blocs. Here are the winners and losers


Aerial view of shipping containers and cranes at Qingdao Port on May 30, 2022 in Qingdao, Shandong Province of China.

Han Jiajun | Visual China Group | Getty Images

First, it was the pandemic. Then came the Russia-Ukraine war. With two major global crises back-to-back, there could be some lasting changes in supply chains and trade, experts warn.

The war in Ukraine, in particular, has caused countries to think about the need for more dependable trading partners.

“If the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted a need to shorten supply chains, the war in Ukraine underscores the importance to have reliable trading partners,” said Peter Martin, research director at commodity research firm Wood Mackenzie.

Energy prices soared this year as Russia’s onslaught in Ukraine destabilized the markets and Western nations slapped sanctions on Moscow.

This week, the European Union agreed to ban 90% of Russian oil imports by the end of this year. Moscow also previously threatened to cut off supply in retaliation. That has driven a Russian official to say the country will find other importers — oil purchases from China and India have already shot up this year.

The European Union receives about 40% of its natural gas from Russian pipelines and about a quarter of that flows through Ukraine.

Crucial grain exports, such as wheat, have been affected.

Millions of tons of wheat from Ukraine, one of the world’s biggest wheat exporters, have been stuck in the country, unable to get to countries that need them. That’s because Russia’s military forces have been blocking the Black Sea, where key Ukrainian ports are.

Before the war, Ukrainian Black Sea ports accounted for around 90% of its grain exports, according to Andrius Tursa, Central and Eastern Europe advisor at consulting firm Teneo Intelligence.

Referring to the war as well as the pandemic, Martin added: “These forces could lead to a lasting realignment of global trade. The global economy becomes more regionalised — shorter supply chains with ‘reliable’ partners.”

1. Trade blocs

2. Trade routes

Winners and losers



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