Growth in world merchandise trade slipped to 6 percent in real terms in 2007, down from 8.5 percent in the previous year, according to a report released by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Wednesday.
The slowdown mainly resulted from uncertainties of the world market, which were caused by the weakening demand in developed countries, realignments in exchange rates and fluctuations in the prices for commodities, such as oil and gas, the report said.
The "International Trade Statistics 2008" said import demand decelerated not only in the United States, but also in Europe and Japan.
But trade remained strong in most developing countries. Regions such as Africa, the Middle East, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), developing Asia and South and Central America showed sustained growth in their economies in 2007.
"While higher commodity prices helped to improve the financial situation of certain countries, higher energy and food prices also increased inflationary pressures worldwide," said the report.
Higher commodity prices induced a 19 percent rise in the total value of agricultural exports, a higher increase than for trade in manufactured goods, fuels and mining products.
For the first time in five years, commercial services trade in value terms rose faster than trade in goods at 18 percent compared with 15 percent.
This was mainly due to the expanding international supply of many financial, computer, and miscellaneous business, professional and technical services and the increase in the price of transportation, the report said.
(Xinhua News Agency November 6, 2008)