Global trade to plunge up to 32% due to pandemic: WTO

Global trade to plunge up to 32% due to pandemic: WTO

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Wednesday forecast up to 32% fall in the global trade this year as the coronavirus pandemic disrupts regular economic activity, Anadolu agency reported.

Addressing a virtual news conference, the WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo said: “COVID-19 has completely upended the global economy and, with it, international trade.”

“Our economists see the volume of global merchandise trade falling by 13% this year compared to 2019. If the pandemic is not brought under control and governments fail to implement and coordinate effective policy responses, the decline could be 32% or even more,” he said.

The pandemic, Azevedo said, is “first and foremost a health crisis,” but also a major social and economic crisis which left millions of people around the world without job and income.

“Our forecast reflects the enormous ongoing shocks to supply and demand,” said the official who heads the body that regulates international commerce.

He was speaking at the launch of the WTO Annual Trade Statistics and Outlook Report and said that despite the “ugly” numbers, policymakers need to start planning for when the pandemic ends.

The WTO said nearly all regions will suffer double-digit declines in trade volumes in 2020, with exports from North America and Asia hit hardest.

Trade will likely fall steeper in sectors with complex value chains, particularly electronics and automotive products.