Trade growth to remain subdued in 2016 as uncertainties weigh on global demand

MAIN POINTS World merchandise trade volume expected to grow by 2.8% in 2016, unchanged from 2.8% in 2015, as GDP eases in developed economies and picks up in developing ones. Trade growth should accelerate to 3.6% in 2017, still below the average of 5.0% since 1990. Risks to the forecast are tilted to the downside, including further slowing in emerging economies and financial volatility. South America recorded the weakest import growth of any region in 2015 as a severe recession in Brazil depressed demand. Exports of developed economies lagged behind developing countries in 2015, with 2.6% volume growth in the former and 3.3% in the latter. Developed economies imports surged last year while developing countries stagnated, with growth of 4.5% in the former and 0.2% in the latter. A sharp trade slowdown affected all regions in 2015Q2 but was mostly reversed by the end of the year.