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World Trade Organization (WTO) director-general Pascal Lamy.TONY GENTILE/Reuters

World trade will grow by a mere 2.5 per cent this year, dragged down by Europe to less than half of the previous 20-year average, the World Trade Organization said on Friday.

The estimate was a revision of the WTO's previous 2012 growth forecast of 3.7 per cent, which it made in April. It also forecast trade would expand by 4.5 per cent in 2013, revised down from 5.6 per cent.

"I see the risk more on the downside than the upside," WTO director general Pascal Lamy said at a press conference in Singapore.

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