GENEVA — World trade volume in goods is forecast to grow 3.3 percent this year, slightly up over last year’s sluggish 2.8 percent increase, with recovery in the European and U.S. economies driving demand, the World Trade Organization said Tuesday.
“We expect trade to continue its slow recovery, but with economic growth still fragile and continued geopolitical tensions, this trend could easily be undermined,” said Roberto Azevêdo, WTO director-general.
Azevêdo said the WTO expects exports and imports to grow slightly faster in developing economies, with exports to grow 3.6 percent and imports 3.7 percent. A 3.2 percent increase is projected for exports and imports of developed economies, notes the WTO’s “World Trade in 2014 and Outlook for 2015” report.
In 2014, the value of global trade in goods rose just 0.7 percent to $18.95 trillion, with China posting a 6 percent increase to $2.3 trillion, followed by the U.S. with a 3 percent gain to $1.6 trillion, and Germany with a 4 percent hike to $1.5 trillion.
In 2014, the U.S. remained the world’s top importer, with the value of shipments up 3 percent to $2.4 trillion, followed by China with a 1 percent advance to $1.9 trillion, and Germany with a 2 percent increase to $1.2 trillion.
In apparel trade, WTO estimates indicate global shipments rose 5 percent to $480 billion in 2014, despite stagnation from the world’s biggest exporter of apparel, which saw the value of shipments remaining flat at $177 billion, as Vietnam, Cambodia and Spain all registered double-digit export increases.
Vietnam posted a 16 percent increase to $20 billion, Cambodia had a 14 percent gain to $6 billion and Spain notched a 10 percent hike to $13 billion. Solid performances were also achieved by Bangladesh, with a 9 percent increase to $26 billion, and India, with a 9 percent gain to $18 billion. Gains were also reported by Italy, with 6 percent growth to $25 billion; France, rising 5 percent to $12 billion, and Turkey, up 5 percent to $16 billion.
In the textile sector, the WTO estimates that the value of world export shipments in 2014 increased 3 percent to $314 billion. China, the top exporter, achieved a 5 percent gain to $112 billion, with India also posting a 5 percent gain to $18 billion. Three percent gains were achieved by Germany to $16 billion, the U.S. to $14 billion, Italy to $14 billion, Turkey to $13 billion and France to $6 billion.