The World Trade Organization has revised its 2016 global trade forecast downward by more than one percentage point. It said broad market volatility and a slowdown in China would no doubt take their toll.
Global trade would expand by only 2.8 percent this year, WTO officials said Thursday as they presented their latest twice-yearly forecast in Geneva, Switzerland.
The new figure marked a substantial downward revision from the 3.9-percent trade expansion the world body had predicted in September of last year.
"Business and consumer confidence has slipped recently in developed countries, the WTO stated, citing slowing growth in Western nations and a bigger market volatility as two core reasons for the lowered forecast.
Asia: A beacon of hope
"This will be the fifth consecutive year of trade growth below 3 percent," WTO Director Roberto Azevedo warned in a statement.
While trade growth measured the overall volume of exports and imports, the actual value of the worldwide exchange of goods had been falling because of negative currency conversion effects and dropping commodity prices, the WTO said.
At 3.4 percent, Asia is expected to be the region with the fastest-growing export volumes this year, followed by Europe and North America with 3.1 percent each.
By contrast, Latin American exports are projected to lag behind at just 1.9 percent. For 2017, the WTO forecast the pace of global trade growth to speed up to 3.6 percent.
hg/cjc (AFP, dpa)