Coronavirus could provoke deepest economic recession ‘of our lifetimes’: WTO

The COVID-19 pandemic could provoke the deepest recession in living memory, World Trade Organization chief Roberto Azevedo warned Wednesday.

”As we face what may well be the deepest economic recession or downturn of our lifetimes, we should aim to make the most of all potential drivers of sustainable growth to reverse this situation,” he told a virtual news conference in Geneva.

A board above the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange shows the closing Dow Jones Industrial Average number, Thursday, March 12, 2020. (AP)

A board above the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange shows the closing Dow Jones Industrial Average number, Thursday, March 12, 2020. (AP)

The World Trade Organization on Wednesday forecast that goods trade would shrink more steeply this year than in the global financial crisis a decade ago before rebounding in 2021 as the pandemic recedes - if countries worked together.

The WTO said global trade would fall this year by between 13 percent and 32 percent, giving a wide range because so much about the economic impact of the health crisis was uncertain.

“These numbers are ugly – there is no getting around that,” WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said in a statement.

“But a rapid, vigorous rebound is possible. Decisions taken now will determine the future shape of the recovery and global growth prospects.”

Keeping markets open and predictable, he said, would be critical to spurring renewed investment. Countries working together would see a faster recovery than if each country acted alone.

Services are not included in the WTO's forecast, but the WTO said trade in this area may be hit hardest by COVID-19 because of transport and travel restrictions.

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Last Update: 07:02 KSA 10:02 - GMT 07:02
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