WTO hikes 2021 trade growth forecast to 8.0%, but Covid-19 risks linger

Geneva – The World Trade Organization slightly raised its growth forecast for global goods trade this year, but said the outlook was clouded by risks from the roll-out of coronavirus vaccines and the possible emergence of vaccine-resistant strains.

WTO director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told a news conference on Wednesday that vaccines had given the world a chance of stopping the disease and jump-starting the economy.

“But this opportunity could be squandered if large numbers of countries and people do not have equal access to vaccines,” she told a news conference.

The WTO is forecasting merchandise trade will grow this year by 8.0% after a fall of 5.3% in 2020. That compares with October figures of respectively 7.2% growth and a 9.2% decline. It forecast 4.0% growth in 2022.

The WTO said short-term risks were “firmly on the downside” and centred on pandemic-related factors.

Source: iol.co.za