Saturday, April 14, 2012

WTO tips growth to struggle

IN ANOTHER sign that the world is in for a rough year, the World Trade Organisation estimates that exports globally will grow just 3.7 per cent in 2012 barely a third of their long-term average growth rate.

WTO director-general Pascal Lamy said the WTO has also cut its preliminary estimate of export growth in 2011 from 5.8 per cent to 5 per cent, and expressed concern at "a steady trickle of restrictive trade measures" being adopted.

"The world economy and trade remain fragile. The downside risks remain high," Mr Lamy said. "We are not yet out of the woods."

China's growth slowdown follows a similar development in India, now Australia's fourth-biggest export market. Official estimates put India's growth in the year to March at 6.9 per cent, the lowest in three years.

New figures show India's industrial production grew just 4.1 per cent in the year to February, amid weakening export demand and rising interest rates. As in China, India's central bank is expected to cut interest rates to revive growth.