Global trade in commercial services such as tourism and air travel showed zero growth in the second quarter of 2012 as the European Union's appetite shrank 7 percent, preliminary trade figures showed on Wednesday.
The figures, prepared jointly by the WTO and the UN economic think tank UNCTAD, showed global growth slowing for the fourth consecutive quarter.
Services represent more than two-thirds of global gross domestic product. The UNCTAD/WTO figures cover financial, legal, telecoms and IT services provided across borders, as well as overseas construction projects, but generally exclude foreign affiliates such as bank branches.
The Europe-led slowdown follows a Europe-led boom a year ago. In the second quarter of 2011, global services exports were up 17 percent year-on-year, and exports from the European Union's 27 members were up 20 percent.
European imports experienced a similar downward move this year, flipping from 18 percent growth in the second quarter of 2011 to a 7 percent contraction in the second quarter of 2012, having shrunk by 1 percent in the first quarter.