The Annual General Meeting of the Berne Union (BU) took place from 20 to 24 October in India this year. Business statistics for the export credit and investment insurance industry confirm a challenging trade environment in the first half of 2019.

The Berne Union (BU) is an international trade association, representing the global export credit and investment insurance industry and has currently 85 members from 75 countries. The members of the BU, including OeKB, support exporters and foreign investors by insuring political and economic risks, often on behalf of their governments. In 2018, the members of the BU insured around 13% of world trade.

Decline of new commitments and rising claims

At the recent BU meeting in India, in which OeKB also participated, it became clear that the environment for export credit and investment insurers is challenging. In the first half of 2019, the volume of new cover, especially for transactions with private customers, declined significantly. At the same time, there is a noticeable increase in claims payments.

Uncertainty affects trade negatively

One of the factors that is currently affecting international trade negatively is the great uncertainty faced by companies. A number of hotspots facing specific economic and political challenges are worsening the business environment and exports of capital goods are declining. In addition, there are financial constraints on emerging economies and a decline in the number of 'mega-deal' project transactions.

Despite the difficult circumstances, BU President Beatriz Reguero is optimistic: “Trade is facing a huge number of risks globally. But the export credit and investment insurance industry is well placed to manage the risks in support of exporters and investors.”