(BBC)- The World Trade Organization (WTO) is predicting a severe decline in international commerce this year. In a new report, the WTO forecasts a contraction of between 13% and 32% this year.
The wide range of possibilities reflects the uncertainties about the health crisis. It says the impact on trade is likely to exceed the slump caused by the financial crisis just over a decade ago.
The more pessimistic case would amount to a decline in global trade similar to what happened in the great depression 90 years ago but in a shorter period of time.
The WTO’s director-general Roberto Azevedo described the figures as “ugly”.
“There is no getting round that”, he said. He said the situation was first and foremost a health crisis and he acknowledged that governments had to take steps to protect people’s lives.
“The unavoidable declines in trade and output will have painful consequences for households and businesses, on top of the human suffering caused by the disease itself,” he added.