World trade growth to slow further in 2008: WTO

April 17th, 2008 - 9:46 pm ICT by admin  

Geneva, April 17 (DPA) World trade growth could slow to 4.5 percent in 2008 as a result of a sharp economic downturn in key developed countries, according to a report by the World Trade Organization (WTO) published Thursday. Economists at the WTO said growth had slipped from 8.5 percent in 2006 to 5.5 percent in 2007, according to a preliminary assessment though the intense market fluctuations had rendered forecasts difficult.

The prospects for 2008 were gloomier as the slowdown in developed economies would only be partly offset by continuing strong growth in emerging countries in the coming year.

Developed economies could see growth dip as low as 1.1 percent while growth was forecast above 5 percent for developing countries.

“These are uncertain and troubling times for the global economy,” said Director-General Pascal Lamy.

“To date, the financial market turmoil, significant price surges and the slow-down of developed economies have not led to a disruption of trade. But protectionist pressures are building as policymakers seek answers to the problems that confront us,” he added.

He said it was more urgent than ever to reinforce the global trading system with greater transparency and the best way clearly was to conclude the Doha Development round aimed at opening up global markets.

“The time for posturing and delay has ended. What we need now is action,” he said.

The global picture was shaped by the slump in demand in 2007 in developed regions, the sharp rise of commodity prices and significant variations among major currencies.

The biggest obstacles to growth in 2008 were possible recessionary tendencies in the US, weaker demand growth in both Europe and Japan, a rise in inflation and depressed global stock markets, said the report.

In contrast, strong output and trade growth were forecast in developing countries and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) though sluggish demand in the major developed markets and rising inflationary pressures could hamper expansion.

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