WORLD trade is expected to plunge by between 13-32% throughout the rest of the year, according to “ugly” figures from the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the globe the WTO has warned of the negative impacts of continued disruption.

It warned that damage could be worse than that of the financial crisis of 2008/09.

A 13% decline is seen as a relatively optimistic scenario, with the 32% figure representing a scenario in which little progress is made in the next few months and a more prolonged recovery.

“These numbers are ugly – there is no getting around that,” said WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo.

“But a rapid, vigorous rebound is possible. Decisions taken now will determine the future shape of the recovery and global growth prospects.

“We need to lay the foundations for a strong, sustained and socially inclusive recovery. Trade will be an important ingredient here, along with fiscal and monetary policy.”

Estimates of recovery in  2021 are equally uncertain and will depend largely on how long lockdown measures and the like are enforced.

On Tuesday analysis from the Fraser of Allander Institute warned that Scottish GDP could shrink by as much as 25% during lockdown, with construction and services – two of the biggest sectors in Scotland’s economy – facing uncertain futures.

READ MORE: Analysis reveals coronavirus lockdown could wipe 25% off Scottish GDP

Azevedo added: "This crisis is first and foremost a health crisis which has forced governments to take unprecedented measures to protect people’s lives.

"The unavoidable declines in trade and output will have painful consequences for households and businesses, on top of the human suffering caused by the disease itself.”

“The immediate goal is to bring the pandemic under control and mitigate the economic damage to people, companies and countries. But policymakers must start planning for the aftermath of the pandemic,” he said.

Growth in global trade had already stalled towards the end of last year, according to the WTO.

In the final quarter of 2019 goods trade was 1% lower than a year earlier.

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