World merchandise trade is expected to expand 1.7 percent in volume in 2023, slowing from a 2.7 percent gain last year, affected by the war in Ukraine, high inflation and tighter monetary policy, the World Trade Organization said Wednesday.
The 2023 growth projection is above the 1.0 percent increase estimated in October by the Geneva-based body, but far below the past 12-year average growth figure of 2.6 percent, according to its "Global Trade Outlook and Statistics" report.
"The lingering effects of COVID-19 and rising geopolitical tensions were the main factors impacting trade and output in 2022 and this is likely to be the case in 2023 as well," WTO chief economist Ralph Ossa said in a press release.
The upward revision in 2023 trade growth stems from the relaxed coronavirus restrictions in China, which is expected to result in higher consumer demand and lead to boosting international trade, the WTO said.
By region, Asia is expected to see a 2.5 percent growth in goods exports this year, a sharp increase from 0.6 percent in 2022. It projects the region's imports to climb 2.6 percent in 2023, compared with a 0.4 percent fall in the previous year.
By value, world goods trade in 2022 surged 12 percent to $25.3 trillion, partly reflecting higher commodity and energy prices. But the rise was smaller than the 27 percent jump in 2021 following a 5.3 percent decline in 2020, the WTO said.
The WTO projects world trade volume to increase 3.2 percent in 2024, but warned the estimate is more uncertain than usual, citing such risks as geopolitical tensions, food supply shocks and the possibility of unforeseen fallout from monetary tightening.