WTO sees record global trade growth in 2010

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The World Trade Organization on Monday raised its trade growth forecast for 2010 to 13.5 percent from 10 percent, describing the pace as the fastest-ever annual expansion in global commerce.

"Following faster-than-expected recovery in global trade flows so far in 2010, WTO economists have revised their projection for world trade growth in 2010 upwards to 13.5 percent," said the trade body in a statement.

The forecast growth marks a sharp recovery from a 12.2 percent plunge in world trade in 2009, when exports were hurt by the economic slowdown, and would effectively make up for the ground lost during the crisis.

"This would be the fastest year-on-year expansion of trade ever recorded in a data series going back to 1950," noted the WTO.

"This surge in trade flows provides the means to climb out of this painful economic recession and can help put people back to work," said WTO director-general, Pascal Lamy.

The trade body's economists now expect merchandise exports for developed economies to expand by 11.5 percent, almost reversing a plunge of 15.3 percent in 2009.

In the rest of the world, growth is expected to reach 16.5 percent, a marked recovery from the drop of 7.8 percent last year.

The expansion in trade volumes was particularly significant in the first half of 2010, as both developed and developing nations climbed out of the worst economic slump since World War II.

However, the WTO said output growth would slow in the second half as measures put in place by governments to stimulate the economy end and companies wind down their restocking.

© 2010 AFP

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