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Economic shocks like the eurozone debt crisis are behind an expected slowdown in global trade growth to 3.7 percent this year, from 5.0 percent in 2011, the World Trade Organization said Thursday.
The WTO said that the world economy had "lost momentum" as the 2011 figure fell below its September forecast of 5.8 percent.
Multiple setbacks during the year had dampened trade growth more than forecast, the body said, resulting in a stronger than expected easing in the last three months of the year.
In addition to the eurozone debt crisis, WTO economists cited the effects of the Japanese earthquake and tsumani and severe flooding in Thailand.
A year ago, the Geneva-based body had predicted 6.5 percent growth for 2011 after a rebound of 13.8 percent in 2010 following the financial crisis.
The WTO expects trade to recover somewhat by 2013 and result in additional growth of 5.6 percent.
"More than three years have passed since the trade collapse of 2008-09, but the world economy and trade remain fragile," WTO chief Pascal Lamy warned.
"The further slowing of trade expected in 2012 shows that the downside risks remain high. We are not yet out of the woods," he said.
The latest WTO forecast assumes growth in global production this year of 2.1 percent, down from 2.4 percent in 2011.