World trade is declining this year for the first time since 1982, and by a projected nine percent, according to the World Bank - the steepest plunge since World War II. A large part of this drop has to do with the deep global recession limiting consumer demand in developed countries. But 90 percent of cross-border trade is financed, and World Bank president Robert Zoellick has said the decline in trade credit availability could be responsible for 10 percent to 15 percent of the total drop in trade.
Intergovernmental financial institutions and export credit agencies are working with unusual speed to restore liquidity to this market. The G-20 committed $250 billion in trade finance at its early April meeting; the G-7 finance ministers said they were implementing the initiative later that month.