The World Trade Organization is predicting a slowdown in global trade growth next year. Reuters says the pullback is because of sharply-higher energy and food prices and rising interest rates that will limit import demand. The WTO also says global trade could contract further if the war in Ukraine worsens. For 2023, the organization sees trade growth at just one percent compared to a previous forecast of 3.4 percent growth. The WTO director-general says there’s a lot of unpredictability in its forecast, noting that the picture for 2023 is “considerably darker” and the risks for next year’s forecast were more toward the downside. Weather events hitting food-producing regions or damaging energy export infrastructure could further slow trade growth in 2023. The WTO is also warning countries against being tempted to put trade restrictions in place. The group says trade restrictions would only deepen inflationary pressures and reduce living standards.
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