'Global trade to grow at 8% this year'

Global Watch

International trade is set to grow a bit faster this year than previously predicted, the World Trade Organization said Wednesday.

The volume of global trade contracted by 5.3% in 2020, less than expected as the pandemic hit.

According to WTO Managing Director, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, trade is set to grow 8 % this year.

"Following a sharp decline in the first half of the year, trade recovered more quickly than expected in the second half of 2020. This rebound has continued and the WTO's baseline trade forecast forsees an 8% increase in the volume of World merchandise tr ade for 2021", Dr. Okonjo-Iweala said.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala sees the frustrations caused by the blockade of the ''Ever Given'' on the Suez Canal last week as a good sign for growth in global trade.

A year ago, the organization cautioned that global trade could plummet by a third in 2020 due to the pandemic. But it had already revised that estimate to an expected 9.2-percent drop.

"The fact that the Ever Given was able to cause so much disruption is a sign that global merchandise trade is relatively robust and that global supply chains have held up through the pandemic", the WTO boss added.

According to the global trade body, while trade for this year will be stronger than expected, growth is forecast to slow to 4% in 2022.

The WTO however cautions the still-raging coronavirus pandemic could thwart any rebound in global trade.

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