Global tensions to force trade slowdown in 2019: WTO

Global trade growth is expected to be lower in 2019, the World Trade Organization said, citing widespread ‘tensions’ and economic uncertainty. (AFP)
Updated 02 April 2019

Global tensions to force trade slowdown in 2019: WTO

  • World Trade Organization has revised down world trade growth to 2.6 percent, from 3.7 percent
  • It is also a decline on the three-percent growth recorded in 2018

GENEVA: Global trade growth is expected to be lower in 2019 than it was last year, the World Trade Organization forecast on Tuesday, citing widespread “tensions” and economic uncertainty.
The WTO had in its preliminary estimates predicted a 3.7 percent expansion of trade for this year, but has revised that down to 2.6 percent, marking a decline on the three-percent growth recorded in 2018.
“The fact that we don’t have great news today should surprise no one who has been reading the papers over the last 12 months,” WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo told reporters in Geneva.
In its main annual forecast, the 164-member WTO renewed its concerns about systemic threats that could continue to disrupt the world’s economy, notably retaliatory tariffs between China and the United States.
There are indications that ongoing talks between Washington and Beijing could resolve the bruising tariff battle, but timelines for a possible deal are not clear.
Asked if he saw either side emerging victorious in the trade spat between the world’s two largest economies, Azevedo said “there will be many losers.”
It was therefore becoming “increasingly urgent” that tensions are resolved, he added in a statement.
The projections released Tuesday are based on a “relatively smooth” Brexit playing out over the next two years, WTO economist Coleman Nee told reporters.
Britain leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement, or the various other possible Brexit scenarios that remain in play, will impact global trade, Nee added.
“The situation is so fluid. We will have to wait and see what the final outcome is,” before fully understanding Brexit’s influence on world trade, Nee further said.


Global renewable power capacity to rise by 50% in five years

Updated 17 min 28 sec ago

Global renewable power capacity to rise by 50% in five years

  • Solar PV will account for nearly 60 percent of this growth and onshore wind 25 percent
  • Falling technology costs and more effective government policies have helped to drive the higher forecasts for renewable capacity deployment

LONDON: Global renewable energy capacity is set to rise by 50 percent in five years’ time, driven by solar photovoltaic (PV) installations on homes, buildings and industry, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Total renewable-based power capacity will rise by 1.2 terawatts (TW) by 2024 from 2.5 TW last year, equivalent to the total installed current power capacity of the United States.
Solar PV will account for nearly 60 percent of this growth and onshore wind 25 percent, the IEA’s annual report on global renewables showed.
The share of renewables in power generation is expected to rise to 30 percent in 2024 from 26 percent today.
Falling technology costs and more effective government policies have helped to drive the higher forecasts for renewable capacity deployment since last year’s report, the IEA said.
“Renewables are already the world’s second largest source of electricity, but their deployment still needs to accelerate if we are to achieve long-term climate, air quality and energy access goals,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director.
“As costs continue to fall, we have a growing incentive to ramp up the deployment of solar PV,” he added.
The cost of generating electricity from distributed solar PV (PV systems on homes, commercial buildings and industry) is already below retail electricity prices in most countries.
Solar PV generation costs are expected to decline a further 15 percent to 35 percent by 2024, making the technology more attractive for adoption, the IEA said.
However, policy and tariff reforms are needed to ensure solar PV growth is sustainable and avoid disruption to electricity markets and higher energy costs, the report said.