WTO forecasts 9.5% growth in trade volumes

The World Trade Organization (WTO) projects a rebound in world trade in 2010, recovering some, but by no means all, ground lost in 2009, when global trade volumes contracted 12.2% — the largest decline since World War II. If growth keeps to the current pace, it will take another year for trade volumes to surpass 2008 peak levels.

The WTO report measures trade on a volume basis because it provides a more reliable point of year-by-year comparison, undistorted by changes in commodity prices or currency fluctuations.

One good thing about the dismal year just past: no significant new barriers to trade were raised. Trade volumes tumbled because global demand contracted. The mix of products involved, the presence of global supply chains, and the synchronization of decline across countries were factors that steepened the fall.

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