WTO forecasts global trade growth to slow sharply in 2023

Global trade in goods is expected to slow more sharply than previously projected in 2023, hit by higher prices for almost everything from energy, commodities and food, the World Trade Organization said Wednesday.

The Geneva-based international body predicted that world merchandise trade volumes will only grow 1 percent next year, down from the 3.4 percent projected in April, weeks after the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"Today, the global economy faces a multipronged crisis," WTO Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told reporters. "Monetary tightening is weighing on growth across most of the world, including in the United States."

The head of the U.N. trade body also said high energy prices are squeezing households and businesses in Europe and elsewhere, and the coronavirus pandemic is continuing to disrupt production and ordinary lives in China.

Although WTO economists estimate the volumes will increase by 3.5 percent in 2022, compared with the 3.0 percent forecast in April, they cautioned that the updated projections are coupled with a "high degree of uncertainty" because of "shifting monetary policy in advanced economies and the unpredictable nature of the Russia-Ukraine war."

© Kyodo News