Global Trade Rebound Is Strong but Unequal, WTO Say
The World Trade Organization (WTO) updated its economic forecast for 2021-22 with a more positive outlook for global trade. The WTO now predicts trade will grow 10.8% this year, up from the 8% forecasted in March.
However, while overall recovery is strong, many developing regions remain far behind partly due to the lack of vaccine access. "The longer vaccine inequity is allowed to persist, the greater the chance that even more dangerous variants of COVID-19 will emerge, setting back the health and economic progress we have made to date," said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the WTO's director general, in a press release Monday.
For example, the organization estimates Asia's exports to rise 18.8% by the end of 2022, while Africa's are expected to rise 1.9% in the same time frame. More than six billion doses of the vaccine have been produced and administered worldwide, the WTO said, but only roughly 2% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.
"Failure to vaccinate in all countries against COVID-19 has led to a two- track recovery, with slower growth in countries with limited access to vaccines, which are frequently those that had the least fiscal space to support businesses and households," the report reads.
Supply bottlenecks also are weighing more heavily on some countries than others with no sign of letting up anytime soon. "My guess is that we will start to see a return to something more normal over the next few months, as we enter 2022," WTO's chief economist ,Robert Koopman, , told the Wall Street Journal.