The WTO anticipates a gradual recovery in world trade in 2024


Global merchandise trade is expected to gradually recover this year after contracting in 2023 due to the lingering effects of high energy prices and inflation, according to a new forecast from the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In its latest report titled “World Trade Outlook and Statistics,” the WTO expects inflationary pressures to ease in 2024, allowing real incomes to resume growth this year, particularly in advanced economies.

Demand for manufactured goods has been significantly impacted by high energy prices and inflation, leading to a 1.2% decline in global merchandise trade volume in 2023, the report notes.

Its authors further estimate that global GDP growth will remain stable overall over the next two years, expected to reach 2.6% in 2024 and 2.7% in 2025.

The WTO, which has not made forecasts for global trade in services, notes, nevertheless, that it increased by 9% in 2023, while the sporting events planned in Europe during the summer (Olympic Games and Euro -2024) should promote tourism and passenger transport.

According to WTO economists, geopolitical tensions and political uncertainty could limit the recovery of global trade, while food and energy prices could see sharp increases due to geopolitical events.

“We are still in a period where trade is relatively resilient” and “we absolutely do not see deglobalization” but there are signs of “fragmentation” of world trade, observed Ralph Ossa, chief economist of the WTO .

Thus, bilateral trade between the United States and China, which had reached a record level in 2022, recorded in 2023 a growth of 30% lower than that of the trade of these two countries with the rest of the world, reports the report.

At the regional level, the report forecasts Africa’s exports to increase rapidly compared to all other regions in 2024, by 5.3%, while imports are expected to grow moderately in North America, in the Middle East and Asia, concludes the WTO.

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