Developments in international seaborne trade

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While the reorientation of global production and trade continues, with developing countries contributing larger shares to world economic output and trade, the performance of the global economy and merchandise trade in 2012 is a reminder of the high level of global economic integration and interdependence. In 2012, growth in world gross domestic product (GDP) decelerated to 2.2 per cent from 2.8 per cent recorded in the previous year. In tandem, and reflecting a simultaneous drop in import demand of both developed and developing economies, the growth of global merchandise trade volumes also decelerated to 1.8 per cent year-on-year. The knock-on effects of the problems in the European Union on developing economies are tangible, while the slowdown in larger developing economies, notably China and India, is resonating in other developing regions and low-income countries. Meanwhile, and driven in particular by a rise in China’s domestic demand as well as increased intra-Asian and South–South trade, international seaborne trade performed relatively well, with volumes increasing by 4.3 per cent during the year. The performance of international seaborne trade remains, nevertheless, vulnerable to downside risks and uncertainty affecting the world economy and trade. It is also unfolding against a background of an evolving maritime transport operating landscape that entails some potentially game-changing trends and developments.

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