Global trade fell 12 percent last year, the most dramatic decline since World War II, the head of the World Trade Organization said Thursday.
WTO Director General Pascal Lamy said the latest numbers were worse than the 10 percent decline analysts had predicted for 2009, The Guardian
The data provides further proof that the financial crisis sparked by the 2008 Lehman Brothers collapse in the United States was having long-term worldwide implications. Trade demand has dropped in nearly every major world economy.
Lamy told reporters in Belgium that so far this year there are some encouraging signs that trade was recovering, but it wasn't clear whether the uptick would last.
"Certainly there is a pick-up. Whether this pick-up is short term ... or whether this is sustainable ... is difficult to say but we certainly are picking up," Lamy said.