GENEVA: The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Tuesday revised down its forecast for global trade growth this year to 3% from 4.7% due to the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war and warned of a potential food crisis caused by surging prices.
The report from the global trade watchdog said the conflict had damaged the world economy at a critical juncture at a time when COVID-19 is still weighing on the recovery.
“The economic reverberations of this conflict will extend far beyond Ukraine’s borders,” said WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at a press conference presenting the findings.
“It’s now clear that the double whammy of the pandemic and the war has disrupted supply chains, increased inflationary pressures and lowered expectations for output and trade growth.”
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The Geneva-based body said that global trade growth in 2023 is expected to be 3.4%, noting that both 2022 and 2023 estimates are less certain than usual due to uncertainty about the conflict.
Okonjo-Iweala also warned of a looming potential food crisis that would hit poor countries the hardest.
“This is why we need to act and act decisively on this issue of food in order to avoid food riots,” she said, citing the need for more transparent monitoring systems and potential releases of buffer stocks to lower prices.