World trade to grow 6.5 per cent in 2011

Reuters, Thursday 7 Apr 2011

The World Trade Organisation warns of protectionist trade pressures fueled by high unemployment and sharp austerity programmes

Pascal Lamy
World trade recovery is less impressive then last year. (Photo AP)

World trade will grow by 6.5 per cent this year, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) said Thursday, above the average rate between 1990 and 2008 of six per cent, but falling short of last year's dramatic rebound.

The WTO said growth in merchandise trade in 2010 as measured by volume of exports was 14.5 per cent, revised up from its previous forecast of 13.5 per cent.

Developing country trade as measured by exports growth is projected to grow by 9.5 per cent, while that of developed countries is set to grow only 4.5 per cent, the WTO said.

The Japan tsunami and nuclear accident have been factored into the prediction, but these twin disasters together with volatile commodity prices and turmoil in the Middle East make predictions particularly uncertain this year with risk on the downside, the WTO said.

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy sought to present the figures as evidence of "how trade has helped the world escape recession in 2010". "However, the hangover from the financial crisis is still with us," he said in a statement.

"High unemployment in developed economies and sharp belt-tightening in Europe will keep fueling protectionist pressures," he warned

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