This is the stark assessment by the World Trade Organization, which said global goods trade could contract by as much as 32% in 2020 under its worse-case scenario of suppression measures staying in place for the whole year and limited recovery in 2021.
The WTO also forecast a less pessimistic scenario under which the pandemic and containment measures last for six months, with world trade falling by around 17%. It also provided an optimistic scenario of three months for containment, under which world trade would fall by 13%.
In 2008-09, global trade fell by 12.5%.
“These numbers are ugly - there is no getting around that. But a rapid, vigorous rebound is possible. Decisions taken now will determine the future shape of the...