Apec vows to boost trade as slump forecast

LEADERS of countries in the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) group pledged to offset weaker growth in trade yesterday, even as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) sliced forecasts for commerce.

In a prepared statement, the countries meeting in Indonesia said: “Global growth is too weak, risks remain tilted to the downside, global trade is weakening and the economic outlook suggests growth is likely to be slower and less balanced than desired.”

The group added: “We will implement prudent and responsible macroeconomic policies to ensure mutually reinforcing effect of growth and to maintain economic and financial stability in the region, and prevent negative spillover.”

Confirming the trend, the IMF announced a further reduction in forecasts for growth in world trade volumes this year. Each of the organisation’s world economic outlook reports this year has reduced the estimate.

Trade in goods and services was expected to grow by 3.8 per cent in January, 3.6 per cent in April, 3.1 per cent in July, and is now only thought to expand by 2.9 per cent. The IMF does expect trade to pick up in 2014, with a 4.9 per cent rise projected.

US secretary of state John Kerry discussed Syrian disarmament with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the event, with President Barack Obama unable to attend due to the government shutdown.