The World Trade Organization (WTO) has significantly reduced its trade growth forecast for 2019, warning that ongoing trade wars and slower growth in major economies could negatively impact living standards and employment. The organization now predicts a 1.2% growth in trade volumes this year, a considerable drop from its earlier 2.6% projection. The WTO has also lowered its global economic growth forecast from 2.6% to 2.3%.
Factors contributing to these downgrades include trade tensions, slower growth in major economies, and continued Brexit uncertainty. In the first half of 2019, global merchandise trade increased by a mere 0.6%. The WTO warns that trade volume expansion could potentially slow to 0.5% growth by the end of the year.
WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo emphasized that businesses are delaying investments and hiring due to uncertainty, which in turn hampers growth and risks improved living standards. Azevêdo urged WTO member states to resolve trade disagreements to avoid these costs.
The International Trade Council reiterates the importance of maintaining a stable global trading environment and encourages the resolution of trade conflicts to foster economic growth and improve living standards worldwide.