WTO warns coronavirus could pose 'substantial' threat to economy

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The WTO has joined the OECD in saying the economic threat from coronavirus could be grave.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has warned coronavirus could have a significant impact on the global economy.

Speaking in a closed-door meeting of delegates in Geneva yesterday (March 2nd 2020), director-general Roberto Azevedo said: "The effects on the global economy are also likely to be substantial and will start to show up in the trade data in the weeks to come."

Although he added that plans for a ministerial meeting in Kazakhstan in June are still set to go ahead, Mr Azevedo conceded this could change should the situation worsen and greater travel restrictions be imposed.

The news comes after the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently warned the coronavirus outbreak could cut global economic growth to as little as 1.5 per cent this year, almost half the 2.9 per cent originally forecast.

This may plunge a number of economies into recession and represent the worst threat since the financial crisis, it said.