Global trade will lose momentum next year amid rising interest rates, a shrinking energy supply and high prices, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The WTO estimates that global merchandise trade will grow by 1 percent next year, down sharply from its 3.4 percent forecast this spring. The organization said that trade will increase by 3.5 percent this year, up slightly from its previous 3 percent estimate, but noted that the change was mostly explained by statistical revisions.
The forecast is another indicator that the global economy is slowing down. The United Nations warned this week that tightening U.S. monetary policy poses a threat to poorer nations and could drive the world into a global recession.
WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told reporters Wednesday that global trade could decrease next year if Russia’s invasion of Ukraine escalates. She also criticized nations’ efforts to limit exports of food, fertilizer and fuel.
“While trade restrictions may be a tempting response to the supply vulnerabilities that have been exposed by the shocks of the past two years, a retrenchment of global supply chains would only deepen inflationary pressures, leading to slower economic growth and reduced living standards over time,” Okonjo-Iweala said in a statement.
The OPEC+ alliance, which includes Saudi Arabia and Russia, agreed Wednesday to cut global oil production by 2 million barrels a day, a move that will further tighten supply and hike prices.
Russia has limited fertilizer exports in response to Western sanctions, and its invasion has cut down on Ukraine’s wheat exports, actions that have led to decreased global food supply.