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World Bank Says Global Economic Growth to Slow

  • VOA News

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 economy. Also, Germany's trade surplus grew in October, but the outlook for exports remains bleak, due to a sharp decline in orders for German goods

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