International trade will expand by an unprecedented 13.5 percent this year, the World Trade Organization said, revising up its forecast because of a faster-than-expected recovery in flows of global commerce.
The WTO had predicted in March that trade in merchandise goods would rebound by 10 percent this year as the world emerged from recession.
But it now sees global trade growing at a faster rate than at any time since the data were first measured in 1950 as exports and imports surge, especially in China and other emerging economies.
WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy said the strong recovery of trade signalled improved economic activity worldwide.
“This surge in trade flows provides the means to climb out of this painful economic recession and can help put people back to work,” he said in a statement. “It underscores, as well, the wisdom governments have shown in rejecting protectionism.”
In 2009, exports worldwide contracted by 12.2 percent—the biggest fall since before World War Two—as demand for goods shrivelled in the economic crisis, and finance to fund trade dried up in the wake of the credit crunch.
WTO economists expect developing economies and countries in the former Soviet Union to see exports expand by a massive 16.5 percent after contracting 7.8 percent in 2009. Rich countries are set to enjoy an expansion of 11.5 percent after a slump of 15.3 percent last year. (Reuters)