World Economy

WTO Cuts Global Trade Growth Forecast for 2014, 2015

WTO Cuts Global  Trade Growth Forecast  for 2014, 2015 WTO Cuts Global  Trade Growth Forecast  for 2014, 2015

Global goods trade will grow less than hoped this year and next, and factors including regional conflicts and the Ebola outbreak are putting a quick return to stronger growth at risk, the World Trade Organization said.

Trade in goods will grow by 3.1 percent this year, much less than the 4.7 percent the WTO forecast in April. It cited “weaker-than expected GDP growth and muted import demand in the first half,” according to a statement quoted by Reuters.

Trade was likely to grow 4.0 percent in 2015 rather than the 5.3 percent expected previously, still far below the 20-year average of 5.2 percent and “risks abound in the form of geopolitical tensions, regional conflict and health crises (Ebola)”.

WTO economists had previously seen conditions for stronger trade returning after a two-year slump, but instead it stagnated in early 2014 as import demand fell in developing countries and harsh US weather and a Japanese sales tax rise also weighed.

The possibility of worse tensions over Ukraine, a deepening Middle East conflict and increased panic caused by West Africa’s Ebola outbreak have all clouded the forecast, the WTO said.

Imports into South and Central America are expected to fall by 0.7 percent this year as economies are hit by a combination of civil conflict, weak non-fuel commodity prices and the easing of growth in Asian export markets, the WTO said.

 Meeting Postponed

An event aimed at promoting trade and investment between India and Africa has been postponed due to concerns over the deadly Ebola outbreak, India’s foreign affairs ministry said on Wednesday.

The worst Ebola outbreak on record has killed more than 2,800 people in West Africa. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that between 550,000 and 1.4 million might be infected in the region by January.

The India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) was due to take place on the outskirts of New Delhi on Dec. 4, and would have seen more than 1,000 delegates - including heads of state, businessmen and journalists - from all 54 nations of the African Union.

“In consultation with the African countries, we decided to postpone the event because of the large numbers of delegates expected to attend,” Syed Akbaruddin, spokesman for the ministry for external affairs, told Reuters.