The World Trade Organization expects global trade to slow for the second straight year in 2012, continuing at a rate well below its 20-year average. Economic and political crises are among the factors behind the slump.
Global trade will slow for the second year in a row in 2012, attaining a no more than a 3.7 percent growth rate, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said in Geneva on Thursday. Trade growth already fell to 5.0 percent in 2011 from 13.8 percent in the previous year, with the value of merchandise traded globally totaling $18.2 trillion (13.87 trillion euros) in 2011.
The figures represent the total volume of merchandise exported across borders, accounting for changes in prices and exchange rates.
"More than three years have passed since the trade collapse of 2008-09, but the world economy remains fragile," WTO Chief Pascal Lamy said in a statement. "The downside risks remain high, and we're not yet out of the woods," Lamy added.
The WTO cited eurozone and US debt concerns, economic aftershocks of the Japan earthquake and continuing political unrest in the oil-rich Middle East as causes for the expected decline of worldwide trade activities.
A more detailed look at the 2011 statistics reveals that the US has seen exports grow by 7.2 percent, which failed to match 2010 levels that posted a 15.4-percent rise. The European Union increased its exports by only 5.2 percent last year, after a rise of 11.5 percent in 2010.
China, as the world's biggest exporter, logged a 9.3-percent growth rate in 2011 - but even that figure paled in comparison to a 28.4 percent surge in the previous year.
hg/ai (Reuters, AP)