WTO sees slowdown in global goods trade growth next year

WTO sees slowdown in global goods trade growth next year

Containers are shown at the Port of Long Beach, California.

GENEVA Reuters - The World Trade Organization predicted a slowdown in global goods trade growth next year as spiralling energy prices, rising interest rates and higher bills for food and fertiliser curb import demand.

The Geneva-based trade body said on Wednesday that merchandise trade would increase by 3.5% this year, up from its April estimate of 3.0%. It sees trade growth of just 1.0% for 2023, compared to a previous forecast of 3.4%.

There was high uncertainty about its forecasts, according to the WTO. It provided a band of trade growth of 2.0% to 4.9% for this year and of 2.8% to 4.6% for 2023.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala warned against the temptation to resort to trade restrictions to counter supply vulnerability.

She said that a retrenchment of global supply chains would only deepen inflationary pressures, leading to slower economic growth and reduced living standards over time.

She said that the world needed to have more diversified and less concentrated base for production of goods and services, which should boost growth, increase resilience and promote long-term price stability by mitigating exposure to extreme weather events and local disruption.