* Trade to grow 13.5 pct in 2010 after 12.2 pct slump in '09
* Developing country exports to grow 16.5 pct
(Changes first paragraph, adds details, byline, link)
By Jonathan Lynn
GENEVA, Sept 20 International trade will grow by
a record 13.5 percent this year, bouncing back from a dismal
2009 and signalling an improvement in economic activity around
the world, the World Trade Organization forecast on Monday.
The WTO had predicted in March that trade in merchandise
goods would rebound 10 percent this year as the world emerged
from recession but revised up its forecast because global trade
flows had recovered faster than expected so far this year.
The global commerce umpire now sees world trade growing at a
faster rate than at any time since the data were first measured
in 1950 as exports and imports surge, especially in China and
other emerging economies.
"This surge in trade flows provides the means to climb out
of this painful economic recession and can help put people back
to work," said WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy.
"It underscores, as well, the wisdom governments have shown
in rejecting protectionism," he said in a statement.
In 2009, exports worldwide contracted 12.2 percent -- the
biggest fall since before World War Two -- as demand for goods
shrivelled in the economic crisis, and finance to fund trade
dried up due to the credit crunch.
WTO economists expect developing economies and countries in
the former Soviet Union to see exports expand by a massive 16.5
percent after contracting 7.8 percent in 2009. Rich countries
are set to enjoy an expansion of 11.5 percent after a slump of
15.3 percent last year.
Trade growth is likely to be less impressive in the second
half of this year than in the first six months, as the expiry of
fiscal stimulus measures and post-recession restocking restrains
output growth, the WTO said.
The new forecast could also need to be corrected downwards
if unforeseen financial or economic shocks trigger another
But the forecast of record trade expansion could prove too
cautious if economic growth turns out to be better than expected
in the second half of the year, it said.
Trade typically outpaces the overall economy, both rising
and falling faster than gross domestic product.
(For full WTO statement go to link.reuters.com/vaz54p )
(Editing by David Stamp)