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Global Trade Outlook & Statistics Report


The World Trade Organisation has published the latest edition of the Global Trade Outlook & Statistics Report.


GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Global Trade Outlook & Statistics Report
  2. About the World Trade Organisation (WTO)

Global Trade Outlook & Statistics Report


  • The WTO’s “Global Trade Outlook and Statistics” reviews recent global trade trends up to Q4 2023 and provides forecasts for 2024 and 2025.
  • Detailed breakdowns of merchandise and commercial services trade by sector and region are included, along with information on top traders.

Key Forecasts

  • World merchandise trade volume is forecasted to increase by 2.6% in 2024 and 3.3% in 2025, rebounding from a 1.2% decline in 2023.

Import Trends

  • Weak import demand was observed in 2023 across most regions, notably in Europe, North America, and Asia.
  • Exceptions include the Middle East and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) where imports saw a significant rise.

Global GDP Growth

  • Global real GDP growth decelerated from 3.1% in 2022 to 2.7% in 2023.
    • The growth is expected to stabilize at 2.6% in 2024 and 2.7% in 2025.
    • The disparity between GDP growth and merchandise trade volume slowdown is attributed to inflationary pressures reducing consumption of trade-intensive goods.

Trade Value

  • The US dollar value of world merchandise trade dropped by 5% in 2023, reaching US$ 24.01 trillion.
    • This decline was counterbalanced by a 9% increase in commercial services trade, reaching US$ 7.54 trillion.
    • The decrease in merchandise exports was influenced by declining commodity prices like oil and gas.
    • The rise in commercial services trade was driven by the recovery of international travel and a surge in digitally delivered services.

Resilience of Global Trade

  • Despite major economic shocks, global trade has shown resilience in recent years.
    • Merchandise trade volume increased by 6.3% by the end of 2023 compared to 2019.
    • Commercial services trade also grew, with the annual US$ value rising by 21% between 2019 and 2023.

Inflation and Income Growth

  • Inflation is projected to gradually decrease in 2024 and 2025.
    • This will enable real incomes to rise in advanced economies, boosting the consumption of manufactured goods.
    • An increase in demand for tradable goods in 2024 is evident due to improved income prospects and increased household consumption.

Risks and Uncertainties

  • Downside risks to the forecast exist due to geopolitical tensions and policy uncertainty.
    • Conflict in the Middle East has disrupted sea shipments between Europe and Asia, while tensions in other regions could result in trade fragmentation.

About the World Trade Organisation (WTO)


  • The WTO is an intergovernmental organization that oversees and facilitates international trade among nations.
  • Established in 1995 under the 1994 Marrakesh Agreement, it succeeded the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) which was founded in 1948.


  • The WTO fosters trade in goods, services, and intellectual property among its member countries.
  • It provides a platform for negotiating trade agreements, typically aimed at reducing or eliminating tariffs, quotas, and other trade barriers.
  • These agreements are endorsed by representatives of member governments and subsequently ratified by their respective legislatures.


  • The WTO comprises 164 member states, accounting for over 96% of global trade and global GDP.


  • Located in Geneva, Switzerland.

Decision-making Process

  • Decisions within the WTO are made through consensus among all 164 member states.
  • As a result, all members possess veto powers, ensuring that no decision can be made without the agreement of every member.

-Source: The Hindu

May 2024