If and when the world economy emerges from its doldrums, look for a huge surge in trade. That's a safe prediction, based on how trade has been behaving even during the current slowdown. The value of world trade, measured in U.S. dollars, grew about 7% in 1992, according to the International Monetary Fund. The growth was well above the previous year's 4% gain, and it points to an improving trade picture.
Among industrial nations, trade remained muted, with exports growing 6.2% in value and imports 4.5%. The modest recovery in North America helped buoy trade, but the increase remained well below the healthy 13.5% average annual gain recorded in 1986-90. Developing nations logged larger trade gains, with exports growing by 8.8% in 1992 and imports by 16.2% in 1992, up from 12.6% a year earlier. The gains in imports reflect strong demand for investment and consumer goods.