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World trade to grow 9.5pc this year says WTO

Geneva, March 27, 2010

World trade is expected to grow 9.5 per cent this year, after suffering its biggest collapse since the Second World War in 2009, said the chief of World Trade Organisation (WTO).

'Our economists are forecasting a world trade growth for 2010 of 9.5 per cent with developing countries' trade growing 11 per cent and industrialised countries' trade growing by 7.5 per cent,' said Pascal Lamy, director-general of WTO.

'This means that trade-wise, there is light at the end of the tunnel and it's certainly a good forecast, good news for the world economy,' he was quoted as saying in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.

World trade plunged 12 per cent last year due to a 'sharp contraction in global demand' during the economic crisis.

Amid last year's slump, China overtook Germany to become the world's top exporter with some $1.20 trillion worth of merchandise exported in last year, according to WTO data.

Germany exported $1.12 trillion of merchandise, while the world's biggest importer, the US, was in third place with $1.06 trillion worth of exports last year.

The WTO noted that the trade slump last year was particularly magnified by the 'product composition of the fall in demand, by the presence of global supply chains, and by the fact that the decline in trade was synchronised across countries and regions.'

Underlining the scale of the downturn, WTO chief economist Patrick Low said the projected growth of 9.5 per cent this year would need to be repeated in 2011 in order for the global economy to recover to peak trade levels reached in 2008 before the crisis struck.

The economist warned that the 2010 forecast could yet prove over-optimistic if currency and commodity prices were to show wild swings, or if the financial markets were to show other adverse developments.

On the other hand, 'if unemployment were to be reduced faster than is predicted then that would have a good effect on trade growth rates,' added Low.

But while trade prospects appear healthy this year, prospects on the so-called Doha Round of negotiations for a global trade deal were more gloomy.

'The outcome is that we are not where we wanted to be,' said Lamy, after a week of meetings of the 153 WTO member states on ways to reach a deal on the long-running negotiations. – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: China | WTO | Geneva | World Trade | Lamy |

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