GENEVA — Global trade in 2008 is projected to increase at the lowest rate in six years because of turmoil in financial markets and the sharp economic slowdown in the U.S. and other major economies, a new report said Thursday.
The study by the World Trade Organization predicted that trade volume would go up 4.5 percent, or 1 percent less than 2007. However, the report cautioned that there are considerable downside risks. The WTO warned that a stronger economic downturn “could cut trade much more sharply, to significantly less” than the level forecast.
The organization’s chief economist, Patrick Low, told reporters that projections will probably have to be revised in the third or fourth quarter.
Last year, boosted by results from robust emerging economies such as China and India, global trade in value terms increased 15 percent to $13.6 trillion, the study said. The disparity between the rate of increase in trade volume and value is largely attributed to the weakened dollar, since global trade is calculated on U.S. currency.
The report, “World Trade 2007 and Prospects for 2008,” said the fastest-growing major emerging economy, China, posted a 26 percent increase in exports to $1.2 trillion last year, which elbowed out the U.S. as the world’s second-largest exporter, behind top-ranked Germany. The U.S. was positioned third with $1.1 trillion in goods exports, up 12 percent.
Low said emerging countries accounted for more than half the world’s trade growth last year. South Asia’s most dynamic economy, India, moved up two slots to be the 26th largest exporter, with shipments worth $145 billion, a 20 percent gain from the year before.
Last year, the U.S. remained the world’s top importer with a 5 percent increase in the value of shipments to $2 trillion, followed by Germany with a 17 percent advance to $1 trillion, and China in third place with $956 billion, up 21 percent.
The report said U.S. imports from China “rose by 12 percent, more than twice as fast as total imports, despite very weak U.S. import demand in electronic goods and clothing,” two key sectors of U.S. imports from China.Energy-rich Russia, flush with huge increases in export revenues, notched a 35 percent rise in imports to $223 billion. A significant increase was also reported by India, with imports up 24 percent to $217 billion, and Turkey, which was up 22 percent to $170 billion.
WTO director general Pascal Lamy said the economic turmoil has not led to a disruption in global trade, but noted “protectionist pressures are building as policy makers seek answers to the problems that confront us.” He said the best way to reinforce the global trading system is to conclude Doha global trade talks, launched in November 2001 and aimed at lowering tariffs and other barriers to global commerce.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast