The Middle East and Asia are slated to see the fastest annual growth in merchandise exports in 2024, in line with the positive trend in the macroeconomic growth prospects in the regions, according to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
In its Global Trade Outlook and Statistics, WTO said the Middle East region is expected to see 4.7% growth in 2024 compared to mere 0.9% in 2023. This year's growth is substantially lower than 9.9% estimated in 2022.
The Middle East is expected to witness a 3.1% gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2024 compared to 2.9% in 2023, higher than the world average of 2.6% and 2.4% respectively in the said periods.
The Asia region's merchandise exports are slated to grow 4.7% in 2024 against 2.5% in 2023. The North America would see a growth of 3.1% in 2024 compared to 3.3% the previous year, CIS (The Commonwealth of Independent States) 2.2% (2.8%), Europe 2% (1.8%), Africa 1.4% (-1.4%) and South America 0.6% (0.3%).
In terms of exports of digitally delivered services, WTO said Central and South America and the Caribbean as well as the Middle East saw an acceleration in growth in 2022, eve as Europe accounts for more than half of global exports of such services.
According to the WTO estimates, global exports of digitally delivered services recorded an almost fourfold increase in value since 2005, rising 8.1% on average per year in 2005-2022, outpacing goods (5.6%) and other services exports (4.2%).
Africa is slated to see fastest growth in imports at 5.5% in 2024 compared to 5.6% the previous year, Asia 5.2% (2.6%), South America 2.3% (-1.6%), Europe 1.8% (-0.6%), North America 1.4% (-0.1%) and CIS 0.8% (14.9%).
The report highlighted that high prices for wheat and other grains were keenly felt in the Middle Eastern and African countries that relied heavily on imports from Ukraine and Russia before the war.
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