2021 Q1 Free Zones World Economic Barometer


  • Meuchelböck
  • S.
  • Gern
  • K.-J.

In the first quarter of 2021, Free Zones around the globe have started to recover from the COVID-19 shock. This is the result of the 2020Q1 F-WEB survey conducted in March 2021. The share of Free Zones reporting a good current economic situation climbed to 30 percent, after having reached a new minimum at 10 percent in the final quarter of 2020. One year ago, i.e. before the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were reflected in the results of the F-WEB, 56 percent of the participating Free Zones had reported a good current situation. About every other participant reports a normal situation in their Free Zone, remaining unchanged from the previous quarter. At the same time, the share of Free Zones reporting poor conditions dropped significantly from 37 percent to only 16 percent. As a result of these changes, the corresponding F-WEB Economic Conditions Index increased substantially from -27 in the previous quarter to +14 now. However, it is still well below its prepandemic reading of 48.