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November 29
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The World Trade Organization predicts a slowdown in global trade growth next year as soaring energy and food prices and rising interest rates curb import demand, Reuters reported.

The WTO said trade will grow 3.5 percent this year, up from an April estimate of 3.0 percent. However, trade is expected to grow by only 1.0% in 2023, compared to the previous forecast of 3.4%.

The WTO said its projections were characterized by a high degree of uncertainty. It envisioned a range of trade growth from 2.0% to 4.9% for this year and from -2.8% to 4.6% for 2023.

The picture for 2023 is much worse, WTO Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told a news conference, adding that the risks to next year's outlook are more negative.

Weather events affecting food-producing regions or damaging energy export infrastructure could further affect trade growth, along with a downturn in China, where COVID-19 outbreaks have disrupted production.

The world needs a more diversified and less concentrated basis for goods and services production, she said, to stimulate growth, build resilience and promote long-term price stability by mitigating the impact of extreme weather events and local shocks.

She also cautioned against a tempting response to trade restrictions, saying that various countries' restrictions on food and fertilizer exports fell from 57 to 42 last month but then rose again to 53 because of the new measures.

This will only increase inflationary pressures and lower living standards and probably make us more, not less, vulnerable to the crisis we are fighting, she said.

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