Prospects for the global economy have darkened since the outbreak of conflict in Ukraine, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said in a new report published on Tuesday. It has forecast that record-breaking prices for natural gas would hurt Europe the most.
According to the report, the most immediate economic impact of the crisis has been a sharp rise in commodity prices. “Despite their small shares in world trade and output, Russia and Ukraine are key suppliers of essential goods including food, energy, and fertilizers, supplies of which are now threatened by the war,” it said.
The WTO pointed out that, unlike oil prices, natural gas prices tend to diverge strongly across regions. The price of natural gas in Europe soared 45% between January and March to $41 per million Btu (British thermal units), whereas prices remained relatively low in the United States at around $4.9 per million Btu.