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Slashing Forecasts and Feeling the Pinch

Oct 10, 2023

Today’s episode touches on trade, trends, and forecasts. Join me and learn 3 new words, and one useful expression.

Hello all you happy economists out there. This is Alan Robert, back with episode 81 of English for Economists. Here is today’s headline.

WTO slashes world trade forecast as manufacturing slowdown bites

Listen again. Try to understand what the WTO expects for world trade, and why.

“WTO slashes world trade forecast as manufacturing slowdown bites”

It’s a great headline for us to work with, because there are not one, not two, but three valuable lessons you can learn.

First things first, in case you don’t know, the WTO is the World Trade Organization, the organization which aims to facilitate and regulate international trade.

So, what does the WTO expect for world trade? Do they think it will grow or reduce? The headline says the “WTO slashes world trade forecast”. To slash! Wow… that is a strong verb. It means to cut, but to really cut. You say the word ‘slash’ and I immediately think of someone swinging a long sharp sword. Maybe a soldier from the middle ages.  Slash! You can slash forecasts, budgets, prices, all kinds of things. Great verb!

So, why is the WTO slashing its forecast? Well, the headline says it’s because ‘manufacturing slowdown bites’.  Bites! That’s another strong word. Bite, like with your mouth and your teeth, like when you chew. So the manufacturing slowdown bites; the manufacturing slowdown is being felt. It is biting into into the world trade forecast.

So, it looks like it’s going to be a tough year for world trade, which is unfortunate news for many countries. How about where you live? Will importers and exporters where you live ‘feel the pinch’ if global trade drops? If they ‘feel the pinch’, it means that they experience financial or economic hardship or strain. 

Speaking about ‘feeling the pinch’, how is your English coming along? Do you feel the pinch because you can’t move ahead as quickly in your career as you’d like to because your English isn’t good enough.  Well, I have some good news if you want to do something about it. We are just finishing up a 12 chapter video course absolutely full of useful vocabulary and pronunciation tips. These videos can really help you out, and they let you study on your own time, and on your own terms. If you’d like information about this upcoming course and learn how to get a break on the price – once again, so you don’t feel the pinch – just go to and write me a message.

So, getting back to our story, The WTO now expects world trade volumes to grow by just 0.8% this year, down from a forecast of 1.7% in April. Growth is expected to pick up to 3.3% in 2024.

The WTO says a slump in goods trade that began in the fourth quarter of 2022 is continuing, and hopes of a pick-up in demand have been crushed. As a result, trade is expected to grow more slowly than GDP this year but faster next year.

“WTO slashes world trade forecast as manufacturing slowdown bites”

Before finishing, here is the key vocabulary one last time.

WTO: World Trade Organization

To slash: To cut deeply. To reduce.

To bite: It means the negative impact is being felt.

Feel the pinch: That’s an idiom that means to experience financial or economic hardship or strain.

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