MNA Business Desk: Global trade may fall by between 13.0 per cent and 32.0 per cent in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts normal economic activity and life around the world, projects the World Trade Organization (WTO).
It also observed that a recovery in trade in 2021 is expected, but dependent on the duration of the outbreak and the effectiveness of the policy responses.
“This crisis is first and foremost a health crisis which has forced governments to take unprecedented measures to protect people’s lives,” WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said while releasing the forecast on Wednesday in Geneva.
“The unavoidable declines in trade and output will have painful consequences for households and businesses, on top of the human suffering caused by the disease itself,” he added.
Trade was already slowing in 2019 before the virus struck, weighed down by trade tensions and slowing economic growth, said the report on the annual forecast.
“World merchandise trade registered a slight decline for the year of 0.10 per cent in volume terms after rising by 2.90 per cent in the previous year,” it added. “Meanwhile, the dollar value of world merchandise exports in 2019 fell by 3.0 per cent to US$ 18.89 trillion.”
“In contrast, world commercial services trade increased in 2019, with exports in dollar terms rising by 2.0 per cent to US$ 6.03 trillion,” it also added. “The pace of expansion was slower than in 2018 when services trade increased by 9.0 per cent.”