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  April 10th, 2024 | Written by

WTO Forecasts Global Trade Rebound Amidst Challenges and Uncertainties

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The World Trade Organization (WTO) anticipates a resurgence in global merchandise trade after a sluggish performance in 2023. Projections suggest a 2.6% growth in trade volume for the current year, followed by a further increase of 3.3% in 2025, driven by declining inflation and improved economic conditions.

While last year’s 1.2% decline in trade was larger than anticipated, particularly in Europe, it remains relatively modest overall. However, the region’s subdued trade growth was attributed to factors like high commodity prices, notably natural gas, which impacted both exports and imports.

Looking ahead, Asia is poised to play a significant role in driving global trade, accounting for a substantial portion of both exports and imports. Africa’s exports are also expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year, showcasing resilience and potential growth in the region.

Despite the positive outlook, geopolitical tensions, supply chain disruptions, and climate change effects pose risks to the trade landscape. Recent attacks on commercial ships and disruptions in key maritime routes highlight ongoing challenges faced by the global trading community.

Services trade, on the other hand, remained robust, with notable growth observed in financial and insurance services. However, geopolitical tensions have contributed to a riskier environment, impacting trade patterns and flows.

The WTO underscores concerns regarding rising protectionism and potential fragmentation in trade flows, emphasizing the need for collaborative efforts to sustain the recovery and promote inclusive trade practices.

While uncertainties persist, the WTO remains cautiously optimistic about the resilience of global trade. However, continued vigilance and concerted action are essential to navigate the evolving trade landscape and mitigate potential risks to the recovery.