The WTO estimated last month that world merchandise trade could decline between 13 percent and 32 percent this year, depending on the duration of the pandemic and the effectiveness of policy responses. The new reading was consistent with that estimate, the statement added.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) said on Wednesday its goods trade indicator fell to the lowest level since its launch, indicating global trade was likely to fall "precipitously" in the first half of 2020 due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.
The indicator, launched in July 2016, fell to 87.6 from 95.5 in February, the Geneva-based body said. Readings of less than 100 indicate trade below medium-term trends.
"The current reading captures the initial phases of the COVID-19 outbreak, and shows no sign of the trade decline bottoming out yet," the WTO said in a statement.