Global trade rebound beats expectations - WTO | Page 2 | Sunday Observer
Regional disparities to remain large

Global trade rebound beats expectations - WTO

10 October, 2021

The resurgence of global economic activity in the first half of 2021 lifted merchandise trade above its pre-pandemic peak, leading WTO economists to upgrade their forecasts for trade this year and the next.

World merchandise trade volume is expected to grow 10.8% in 2021, revised up from 8.0% forecasted in March. Trade growth should slow to 4.7% in 2022, up from 4.0% previously.

Quarterly trade growth was up 22.0% year-on-year in Q2 of this year but is expected to slow to 6.6% by Q4, reflecting 2020’s drop and recovery. Global GDP will grow 5.3% in 2021, up from 5.1% forecasted in March. Growth should slow to 4.1% in 2022, up from 3.8% previously.

The current forecast is close to the upside scenario shown in the last trade forecast, but downside risks now predominate, including strained global supply chains and Covid-19 outbreaks.

Regional disparities will remain large. Imports of Asia in 2021 are expected to rise 9.4% compared to 2019, while imports of Least-Developed Countries (LDCs) will fall 1.6%.

Services trade is likely to lag behind goods trade, particularly in sectors related to travel and leisure.

The WTO is now predicting global merchandise trade volume growth of 10.8% in 2021 — up from 8.0% forecasted in March — followed by a 4.7% rise in 2022.

Growth should moderate as merchandise trade approaches its pre-pandemic long-run trend. Supply-side issues such as semiconductor scarcity and port backlogs may strain supply chains and weigh on trade in particular areas, but they are unlikely to have large impacts on global aggregates. The biggest downside risks come from the pandemic itself.

Behind the strong overall trade increase, however, there is significant divergence across countries, with some developing regions falling well short of the global average. - WTO