GENEVA (dpa) – Global trade will grow more slowly than expected in 2014 and 2015, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said Tuesday, pointing to the subdued performance of major world economies so far this year.
Global merchandise trade was forecast to grow 3.1 per cent this year and 4 per cent next year, lower than the previous estimate from April, which predicted increases by 4.7 per cent and 5.3 per cent, respectively.
Industrial output fell in the first quarter in the United States and in the second quarter in Germany while China’s economic growth slowed between January and March.
In addition, demand for foreign goods went down in developing countries, the WTO said.
The pace of global trade growth could slow even more because of several world crises, the trade body’s experts warned.
Ongoing tensions between Russia and Western countries over the Ukraine conflict could result in widening trade sanctions, the Middle East conflict could push up oil prices and the Ebola epidemic could have economic effects beyond West Africa, they said.
The WTO predicted that trade would stagnate or decrease this year in most developing and emerging regions.
In Latin America, exports were predicted to grow 0.4 per cent and imports were predicted to shrink 0.7 per cent. A similar picture was painted for the group of former Soviet, Middle Eastern and African countries, where average outbound trade was seen as falling 0.1 per cent and imports rising by 1.3 per cent.
“Economies in these regions have been negatively affected by a combination of civil conflict, weak non-fuel commodity prices and the easing of growth in previously buoyant trading partners in Asia,” the WTO said.