World trade will grow by 6.5 percent this year, the World Trade Organization said on Thursday, above the average rate between 1990 and 2008 of 6 percent, but falling short of last year's dramatic rebound.
The WTO said growth in merchandise trade in 2010 as measured by volume of exports was 14.5 percent, revised up from its previous forecast of 13.5 percent.
Developing country' trade as measured by exports growth is projected to grow by 9.5 percent, while that of developed countries is set to grow only 4.5 percent, the WTO said.
The Japan earthquake and nuclear accident have been factored into the prediction, but these twin disasters together with volatile commodity prices and turmoil in the Middle East make predictions particularly uncertain this year and the risk is to the downside, it said.
WTO director-general Pascal Lamy sought to present the figures as evidence of how trade has helped the world escape recession in 2010. However, the hangover from the financial crisis is still with us, he said in a statement.
High unemployment in developed economies and sharp belt-tightening in Europe will keep fueling protectionist pressures, he warned.
(Reporting by Andrew Callus; Editing by Stephanie Nebehay, Ron Askew)