The WTO on Monday raised its trade growth forecast for this year to 13.5 percent from 10 percent, describing the pace as the fastest-ever annual expansion in global commerce.
“Following faster-than-expected recovery in global trade flows so far in 2010, WTO economists have revised their projection for world trade growth in 2010 upwards to 13.5 percent,” the trade body said in a statement.
The forecast growth marks a sharp recovery from a 12.2 percent plunge in world trade last year, when exports were hurt by the economic slowdown, and would effectively make up for the ground lost during the crisis.
“This would be the fastest year-on-year expansion of trade ever recorded in a data series going back to 1950,” said the WTO.
“This surge in trade flows provides the means to climb out of this painful economic recession and can help put people back to work,” WTO director-general Pascal Lamy said.
The trade body’s economists now expect merchandise exports for developed economies to expand by 11.5 percent, almost reversing a plunge of 15.3 percent last year and an upwards revision from a 7.5 percent forecast made in March.
In the rest of the world, growth is expected to reach 16.5 percent, a marked recovery from the drop of 7.8 percent last year. In March, economists had expected growth of 11 percent for this group.
The expansion in trade volumes was particularly significant in the first half of this year, as both developed and developing nations climbed out of the worst economic slump since World War II.
Exports were up some 25 percent in the first half, with emerging economic giants leading growth, according to trade data released on Sept. 1.
China posted a 41 percent gain in exports in the second quarter, while India’s exports were up by a third, according to recent data from the trade body.
However, the WTO warned on Monday that output growth would slow in the second half as measures put in place by governments to stimulate the economy end and companies wind down their restocking.
Nevertheless, trade figures released by some countries for the early part of the second half of this year indicate that growth was continuing.
Taiwan’s exports were up a record US$34.88 billion last month, while the US also reported that exports in July reached their highest level in two years.