World trade is facing an uphill struggle that could see the worst figures since the credit crunch and global economic turmoil of 2009.
Analysis carried out by ING pointed out that during the last two months of 2018, global trade levels declined by more than three per cent, while performance was still slow in March 2019.
This need to catch up and the damage from the tariff war between the US and China led to the bank predicting an extremely poor year for trade.
Indeed, under its central scenario that sees the US continue its taxes on Chinese goods and on car imports from Europe and Japan, it forecast growth of just two per cent this year, the worst in ten years.
Going forward, ING suggested 2020 could see trade expand by two per cent, as long as the trade war does not drag on until then.
The news comes after the World Trade Organisation's Dispute Settlement Body announced it is looking into the tariffs levied by the US on Chinese goods following a 2018 complaint from Beijing that they flout its rules.