The WTO slightly raised its forecast for growth in global goods trade to 4.7 percent this year, saying it did not expect a return to the historical level of 5.3 percent yet.
“If GDP forecasts hold true, we expect a broad-based, but modest upturn in the volume of world trade in 2014 and further consolidation of this growth in 2015,” WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo told a news conference in Geneva, yesterday.
Although this represents a brighter picture than the 4.5 percent growth that the WTO expected at its last forecast in September last year, it is still gloomier than its predictions a year ago, because the EU’s economic recovery took longer than expected to materialize.
“EU demand has been weighing on world imports for the past couple of years, but it’s starting to turn around,” WTO economist Coleman Nee said.
“We will be watching very closely to see if the recovery in the EU disappoints,” Azevedo added.
He said that 80 percent of the protectionist policies implemented since 2008 were still in place, but he hoped they would be removed as economic growth improved.
“It’s not on the level — not even nearly close to the level — that we had after the 1929 crisis, but it’s measurable and regrettable,” he said.
The WTO does not forecast service trade, but said that the value of global services exports grew 6 percent to US$4.6 trillion last year, against 2 percent growth in 2012.