WTO slashes global trade growth forecast

WTO slashes global trade growth forecast

World GDP at market exchange rates is expected to grow by 2.8% in 2022, down 1.3 percentage points from the previous forecast of 4.1%, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO)'s annual trade statistics and outlook report published on Tuesday.

The Geneva-based trade body lowered its projection for growth in merchandise trade this year to 3%, down from its previous projection of 4.7%. The WTO also said Tuesday it expects trade growth of 3.4% in 2023 and cited a number of downside risks to its assessment, including food insecurity and a possible resurgence of the virus. 

World merchandise trade only fell 5% in 2020 - far less than the WTO’s initial worst-case projection of a 32% slump that would have rivaled the Great Depression - before posting a 9.8% rebound in growth in 2021.

Last year’s stimulus-driven consumption of physical goods helped imports rebound strongly in 2021, but supply disruptions and a resurgence of virus variants resulted in rolling lockdowns that restrained economies from getting back to full speed.