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World Trade Organisation cuts its forecasts

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By Mark Armstrong
World Trade Organisation cuts its forecasts

The World Trade Organisation says growth in 2018 and 2019 is likely to be slower than previously forecast, although the direct economic effects of a trade war that has blown up this year have been modest so far.

The WTO forecast world trade in goods would grow by 3.9 percent this year, less than the 4.4 percent it predicted in April.

Next year trade growth of 3.7 percent is expected, a cut from the WTO’s previous forecast of four percent. The organisation said in a statement that some of the downside risks it warned of in April had now materialised.

Since the WTO’s previous forecast, U.S. President Donald Trump has launched a trade war by imposing tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of imports from China, prompting the Asian giant to hit back with its own tariffs on American imports. Trump has also introduced taxes on aluminium and steel imports from around the world to protect U.S. jobs.