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WTO says global trade to improve in next two years

WTO says global trade to improve in next two years
The Port of Los Angeles as wholesale trade figures are released. According to the World Trade Organization, global trade is expected to improve in the next two years. (Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg)

After a two-year slump, global commerce is expected to pick up in the next two years, one report says.

World trade is forecasted to grow by 4.7% this year and 5.3% in 2015, buoyed by continual improvement in the economies of many countries, the World Trade Organization said in its annual report.

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That will be an improvement on the past two years when global trade growth averaged a weak 2.2%, the report said, but still below the 20-year average of 5.3% growth.

"Looking ahead, if [economic growth] forecasts hold true, we expect a broad-based but modest upturn in 2014," Roberto Azevedo, WTO director-general, said in a statement. "It's clear that trade is going to improve as the world economy improves."

The forecast cited several factors that weakened global trade last year, including high unemployment in several Eurozone countries and the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to cut its bond-buying stimulus program.

Now recent data indicate the recovery should gain speed in the U.S. and Europe, the report said. Developing economies such as China should continue to outpace developed economies in terms of GDP growth despite recently hitting a rough patch.

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