WTO report says Asia to grow 3.4% in 2016
Asia is expected to record the fastest export growth this year at 3.4 percent, even as the world trade will remain sluggish at 2.8 percent amid easing economic growth of developed economies and picking up in developing ones.
A report of the World Trade Organization (WTO) economists said exports of North America and Europe can growth each at 3.1 percent in 2016, while South and Central America and other regions will lag behind at 1.9 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.
North America should see its imports increase by 4.1 percent this year, while Asian and European imports should both register growth of 3.2 percent.
“Imports of developed countries should moderate this year while demand for imported goods in developing Asian economies should pick up,” the WTO said in the report emailed to select business journalists.
In 2017, trade growth should accelerate to 3.6 percent, still below the average of five percent since 1990. Risks to the forecast are tilted to the downside, including further slowing in emerging economies and financial volatility.
The WTO report stressed that risks to this forecast are mostly on the downside, including a sharper than expected slowing of the Chinese economy, worsening financial market volatility and exposure of countries with large foreign debts to sharp exchange rate movements.
On the other hand, there is some upside potential if monetary support from the European Central Bank succeeds in generating faster growth in the euro area.
The WTO’s world trade growth forecasts this and next year are based on consensus estimates of real world gross domestic product growing 2.4 percent this year and 2.7 percent in 2017, with growth slowing slightly in developed countries in 2016 and picking up modestly in developing ones.