Global trade will grow an estimated 6.5% in 2011, a healthy rate that is half a percentage point above the average annual growth from 1990 to 2008, the World Trade Organization predicts.
Since the average rise between 1990 and 2008 was 6%, a 6.5% rise in 2011 would enable corporations and countries alike to resume planning based on a return to more predictable levels of gain.
One of the most interesting aspects of the WTO forecast is the contrast between developing and developed countries. Developing nations will lead growth with a predicted 9.5% rise in trade volume this year, compared with 4.5% in the developed world, the WTO says.
While such a forecast is subject to the uncertainties inherent in developing nations, it does provide a signal that emerging markets are poised to continue offering investors the potential for higher returns based on more robust economic growth rates.
Speaking of uncertainties, the WTO forecast is based in part on an estimated 3.1% rise in gross domestic product worldwide in 2011. Keep in mind that more political turmoil in the Middle East or more economic shocks such as that now being experienced in Japan could lower both world GDP and trade results.