GENEVA—World Trade Organization (WTO) economists are forecasting 4.7 per cent growth in global trade in 2014 and a slightly faster rate of 5.3 per cent in 2015.
While expectations for 2014 are more than double the 2.1 per cent increase of last year, it’s below the 20-year average of 5.3 per cent.
For the past two years, the WTO has recorded average growth of only 2.2 per cent.
Flat import demand in developed economies ( 0.2 per cent) and moderate import growth in developing economies (4.4 per cent) combined for the sluggish growth in 2013.
On the export side, both developed and developing economies only managed to record small, positive increases (1.5 per cent for developed economies, 3.3 per cent for developing economies).
“For the last two years trade growth has been sluggish. Looking ahead, if GDP forecasts hold true, we expect a broad-based but modest upturn in 2014, and further consolidation of this growth in 2015”, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said.
“We can actively support trade growth by updating the rules and reaching new trade agreements,” Azevêdo continued. “Concluding the Doha round would provide a strong foundation for trade in the future, and a powerful stimulus in today’s slow growth environment.”
The preliminary estimate of 2.1 per cent for world trade growth in 2013 refers to the average of merchandise exports and imports in volume terms, adjusted to account for differences in inflation and exchange rates across countries. This figure is slightly lower than the WTO’s most recent forecast of 2.5% for 2013, issued last September.
The trade forecast for 2014 is premised on an assumption of 3.0 per cent growth in world GDP growth at market exchange rates, while the forecast for 2015 assumes output growth of 3.1 per cent.