WTO raises global GDP, trade growth estimates for 2021, 2022

Largest downside risks stem from pandemic, World Trade Organization says

The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Monday raised its gross domestic product (GDP) and merchandise trade growth estimates for 2021 and 2022.

In a statement, the WTO said it expects global GDP to grow 5.3% in 2021, up from its 5.1% forecast made in March. However, growth in 2022 would slow to 4.1%, still up from its previous estimate of 3.8%.

World merchandise trade volume is anticipated to grow 10.8% in 2021, revised up from the 8% forecast made in March. Trade growth would slow to 4.7% in 2022, but still higher from the previous expectation of 4%.

The WTO said in a statement that supply-side issues, such as semiconductor scarcity and backlogs, may strain supply chains and weigh on trade in specific areas, adding the largest downside risks would stem from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Trade has been a critical tool in combatting the pandemic, and this strong growth underscores how important trade will be in underpinning the global economic recovery,”Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said in the statement.

“But inequitable access to vaccines is exacerbating economic divergence across regions. The longer vaccine inequity is allowed to persist, the greater the chance that even more dangerous variants of COVID-19 will emerge, setting back the health and economic progress we have made to date,” she added.


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