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WTO Report – world trade slips to 6% growth in 2007
Nov '08
Weakening demand in developed countries, realignments in exchange rates and fluctuations in the prices for commodities, such as oil and gas, introduced uncertainties into the global markets in 2007. As a result, growth in world merchandise trade slipped to 6 per cent in real terms, down from 8.5 per cent in 2006, according to statistics published by the WTO on 5 November.

These latest figures come in the official comprehensive compilation for 2007, “International Trade Statistics 2008”. The 6 per cent trade growth is slightly higher than the preliminary assessment of 5.5 per cent announced in April but still a considerable decline from the 2006 figure.

The slowdown “is due to a deceleration of import demand, mainly in the United States, but also in Europe and Japan,” the report says.

“Trade remained strong in most developing countries. Regions such as Africa, the Middle East, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), developing Asia and South and Central America showed sustained growth in their economies in 2007.

“While higher commodity prices helped to improve the financial situation of certain countries, higher energy and food prices also increased inflationary pressures worldwide.”

Higher commodity prices induced a 19 per cent rise in the total value of agricultural exports, a higher increase than for trade in manufactured goods, fuels and mining products.

In value terms, for the first time in five years, commercial services trade rose faster than trade in goods at 18 per cent compared with 15 per cent. This was mainly due to the expanding international supply of many financial, computer, and miscellaneous business, professional and technical services and the increase in the price of transportation.

World Trade Organization

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