Citi’s latest report, titled Supply Chain Finance – Building Resilience as a New Definition of ‘Global’ Emerges, offers a comprehensive look at the evolving landscape of global trade and supply chains. Published on 22 January 2024, this report marks the fourth edition of the Citi Global Perspectives & Solutions (Citi GPS) series and is a testament to the transformative changes in global trade dynamics.
Transformative technological innovation and sustainability
Jane Fraser, CEO of Citi, highlights the critical role of transformative technological innovation in enhancing sustainability in global supply chains. This focus on sustainability is driven by a universal drive for security in areas as diverse as food, water, energy, cyber, financial and operational. The report highlights a significant shift in reconfiguring supply chains to meet customer demands and stakeholder expectations. This change not only changes global trade, but also promotes economic growth.
Adopting the China Plus One strategy
A notable finding in the report is the acceptance of the China plus one strategy by over half of respondents worldwide, particularly in North America. This strategy involves diversifying supply chains by including an additional sourcing destination alongside China, with Vietnam emerging as a preferred alternative. This trend shows a conscious effort by companies and nations to diversify their supply chain partners, thereby building new trade corridors and increasing resilience.
Technological developments in trade finance
Chris Cox, Global Head of Trade and Working Capital Solutions at Citi, highlights the central role of technology in trade finance. Innovations such as artificial intelligence and blockchain are revolutionizing trade finance by increasing operational efficiency, reducing costs, mitigating fraud and improving transparency. These improvements are fundamental to improving access to efficient capital globally, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and companies in emerging markets.
The evolving nature of global supply chains
Citi’s report delves into the evolution of global supply chains, highlighting the shift to a new era of diversification. This transformation is evident in various ways:
The emergence of smaller players in global trade, especially last-mile suppliers in developing countries.
Diversified economies driven by increased investment in supply chains, as seen in countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The creation of new trade corridors, exemplified by Brazil’s increased trade with India and China and the Middle East’s stronger ties with Asia.
The report acknowledges that while significant progress has been made, the transformation of supply chains is a gradual process that requires time to build new relationships and achieve scale.
Ahead challenges and opportunities
Despite easing pressure on the supply chain after the 2021 peak, the report acknowledges ongoing challenges such as high inflation, rising interest rates and geopolitical tensions. However, these challenges also present opportunities for smaller suppliers to become more actively involved in global trade. The report advocates continued collaboration on global solutions, highlighting the need for standardization, technology integration and regulatory harmonization to improve supply chain resilience.
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