EPRS Admin By / October 27, 2017

Real trade and real GDP, 1960-2016

Figure 1 shows that the growth rate of imports has constantly exceeded the GDP growth rate. However, since 2012, the…

Real trade and real GDP, 1960-2016

Figure 1 shows that the growth rate of imports has constantly exceeded the GDP growth rate. However, since 2012, the trade growth rate has barely exceeded the global GDP growth rate. On 27 September 2016, the World Trade Organization slashed its forecast for growth in trade of goods from 2.8 % in 2016 to just 1.7 %, which would mean that for the first time in 15 years, trade in goods grew more slowly than GDP. However, in a recent publication, the World Bank estimates that global growth is projected to strengthen to 2.7 % in 2017 and 2.9 % in 2018-2019. Furthermore, the World Bank projects global trade growth will reach 4 % in 2017.
It is possible that the rapid growth during the 15 years prior to 2009 was caused by exceptional factors, such as the decrease in tariffs, falling costs of transportation, and improved communication technology which reduced cross-border trade costs. At the same time, China became an active actor in international trade


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