Trade growth was stronger around the world in the first half of 2004 than it had been for more than two decades. Nominal merchandise trade growth of 21% was due to a combination of strong real trade growth (9%) and a sharp increase in dollar prices (11%) bq. Riding a wave of higher oil and commodity prices, and vigorous global trade growth including recovery in trade in office and telecom equipment, developing countries saw their share in world merchandise trade rise sharply in 2004 to 31%, the highest since 1950. “WTO”:http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/pres05_e/pr401_e.htm Even in Africa, exports were up by 30% over a strong performance in 2003. But (there’s always a ‘but’):
* a sharp rise in the price of mineral and fuel commodities (more than 30%) accounted for much of the growth on a regional basis
* the outlook for 2005—forshadowed by the slowdown in the second half of 2004—is for a marked slowdown with a deceleration of merchandise trade growth from 9% (in real terms) to about 6.5%.
Peter Gallagher is student of piano and photography. He was formerly a senior trade official of the Australian government. For some years after leaving government, he consulted to international organizations, governments and business groups on trade and public policy.
He teaches graduate classes at the University of Adelaide on trade research methods and the role of firms in trade and growth and tweets trade (and other) stuff from @pwgallagher