Uncertainty could derail trade growth, says WTO

PREMIUM CONTENT. To continue reading please login, or click on SUBSCRIBE above, or purchase access to this report for 1 month.


July 21, 2017

TRADE GROWTH is more promising, but it could be derailed by policy shocks and geopolitical uncertainly, warns the WTO . . .

GENEVA — With the outlook for the world economy likely to be better in coming months, international trade is also expected to rebound, with growth of 2.4 per cent for 2017, according to the World Trade Organisation’s latest forecast.

Leading indicators of real trade growth are up in the early months of 2017.

Container throughput at major ports has recovered from its 2015-16 slump to reach a record high level, with on-year growth of 5.2 per cent in January and February this year, says the Geneva-based global trade club.

A key index of world export orders also climbed to its highest level in several years in February.

Trade growth will reflect high global GDP growth, which is expected to be 2.7 per cent in 2017, inching up to  2.8 per cent next year.

There is increasingly a chorus among leading economists calling for synchronised global growth — something that has been absent for the past decade.

However, trade growth can be derailed by policy shocks and geopolitical uncertainty.

The WTO speaks of a prevailing sense of uncertainty because of unpredictable Government policies on monetary, fiscal and trade. These Government actions could stifle the promising expansion in trade, it says.