Global Trade Expected To Drop 18.5% in Q2: WTO

by GoNews Desk 1 month ago Views 2740
World trade fell sharply in the first half of the year, as the COVID-19 pandemic upended the global economy.

The volume of merchandise trade shrank by 3% year‑on‑year in the first quarter according to WTO statistics. Initial estimates for the second quarter, when the virus and associated lockdown measures affected a large share of the global population, indicate a year‑on‑year drop of around 18.5%.

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These declines are historically large, but could have been much worse. The WTO's April 20 annual trade forecast, in light of the large degree of uncertainty around the pandemic’s severity and economic impact, set out two plausible paths: a relatively optimistic scenario in which the volume of world merchandise trade in 2020 would contract by 13%, and a pessimistic scenario in which trade would fall by 32%.

(Message from Director-General Roberto Azevêdo on the update to the trade outlook 2020)

However, looking ahead to 2021, adverse developments, including a second wave of COVID‑19 outbreaks, weaker than expected economic growth, or widespread recourse to trade restrictions, could see trade expansion fall short of earlier projections.

"The fall in trade we are now seeing is historically large – in fact, it would be the steepest on record. But there is an important silver lining here: it could have been much worse,” said Director‑General Roberto Azevedo.

"This is genuinely positive news but we cannot afford to be complacent. Policy decisions have been critical in softening the ongoing blow to output and trade, and they will continue to play an important role in determining the pace of economic recovery. For output and trade to rebound strongly in 2021, fiscal, monetary, and trade policies will all need to keep pulling in the same direction”, the WTO Director-General said.

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