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Global trade growth to accelerate towards 8% per year by 2017-20: HSBC

Friday, May 29, 2015 - 08:59
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HSBC expects global trade growth - which has disappointed recently with growth in the value of goods exported averaging only around 1.5 per cent a year in 2012-14 - to accelerate towards 8 per cent a year by 2017-20 as the global economy strengthens.

HSBC expects global trade growth - which has disappointed recently with growth in the value of goods exported averaging only around 1.5 per cent a year in 2012-14 - to accelerate towards 8 per cent a year by 2017-20 as the global economy strengthens.

But this pace of growth would still fall short of the pre-crisis period, when growth in the value of global exports averaged around 9 per cent a year.

"The forecast strengthening of world export growth reflects our expectation of continued robust growth in the US, cyclical upturns in the eurozone and Japan, and some improvement in emerging markets,'' HSBC said in its global overview released on Friday.

"Over the medium term, we believe the emerging markets will regain their role as the main drivers of growth in world exports, as their strong economic fundamentals imply good medium term prospects for growth in traded goods."

The bank warned that significant risks remain that world trade growth will continue to undershoot baseline forecasts, especially given the structural factors at play. These include the restructuring of global supply chains and the lack of progress in trade liberalisation.

However, potential catalysts to growth in global trade include various negotiations like the one to expand the WTO's Information Technology Agreement (ITA). The ITA guarantees zero-tariff and duty-free trade in around 250 electronics products, but the second phase of the agreement would add a further 200 products, covering global trade flows worth around US$1.4 trillion.

Others are the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a proposed free trade agreement between the EU and the US that could raise transatlantic GDP by up to US$210 billion a year, as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed regional free trade agreement covering 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The latter could boost world income by US$295 billion a year over the next decade.

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