Geneva — World trade shrank by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2018 and is likely to grow by 2.6% this year, slower than 3% growth in 2018 and below a previous forecast of 3.7%, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) said on Tuesday. In its annual forecast, the WTO said trade had been weighed down by new tariffs and retaliatory measures, weaker economic growth, volatility in financial markets, and tighter monetary conditions in developed countries. It forecast in September that 2018 growth would be 3.9%, down from 4.6% in 2017. WTO director-general Roberto Azêvedo told a news conference that the lower forecast was no surprise, given the trade tensions between the US and China. WTO chief economist Robert Koopman said worse may be to come with an even bigger impact if US President Donald Trump goes ahead with a plan to impose high tariffs on global imports of cars later in 2019.

“US-China trade is about 3% of global trade. Automobile trade globally is about 8% of global trade. So you ...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now