The World Bank says global economic growth will slow significantly next
year, as world trade shrinks for the first time since 1982.
In a report issued Tuesday, the bank projects world trade will fall
more than two percent next year, which it says will cause a drop in
exports from developing countries.
The report also says prices for commodities, including oil and food, will decline next year.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says a surge in food prices
earlier this year caused 40-million more people to go into hunger. A
total of 963 million people are categorized as chronically hungry and
malnourished -- the vast majority (907 million, or 94 percent) live in developing countries.
The FAO says the global financial crisis could make the situation worse.
Wealthy countries also are suffering from the economic downturn. The
Japanese Sony Corporation has announced it is cutting eight thousand
jobs worldwide. Half of those jobs are temporary or part-time positions.
The news comes as Japan announced it had fallen into a deeper recession in the third quarter than first thought.
Air travelers also are feeling the economic pinch. The International
Air Transport Association says the global aviation industry faces the
worst revenue environment in 50 years and is expected to lose
two-and-a-half billion dollars next year.
Crude oil prices fell slightly during trading in New York, after a U.S.
government report projected worldwide demand for oil will decline this
year and in 2009.
It would be the first time in three decades that oil
demand has declined for two consecutive years.
Meantime, in Germany, the closely-watched ZEW survey of investor
confidence showed an unexpected improvement in December. Confidence was
boosted by interest rate cuts and state efforts to aid Europe's biggest
Also, Germany's trade surplus grew in October, but the outlook for
exports remains bleak, due to a sharp decline in orders for German