The World Bank says global economic growth will slow significantly next year, as world trade shrinks for the first time since 1982.

In a report issued Tuesday the bank projects world trade will fall more than two percent next year, which it says will cause a drop in exports from developing countries.

The report also says prices for commodities, including oil and food, will decline next year.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says a surge in food prices earlier this year caused 40 million more people to go into hunger.  A total of  963 million people are categorized as chronically hungry and malnourished - the vast majority (907 million, or 94 percent) live in developing countries.

The FAO says the global financial crisis could make the situation worse.

Economic woes causing hardship for wealthy nations too

Wealthy countries are also suffering from the economic downturn.   The Japanese Sony Corporation has announced it is cutting 16,000 jobs worldwide.  Half of those jobs are temporary or part-time positions.

The news comes as Japan announced today that it had fallen into a deeper recession in the third quarter than first thought.

Air travelers are also feeling the economic pinch.  The International Air Transport Association says the global aviation industry faces the worst revenue environment in 50 years and is expected to lose $2.5 billion next year.

Oil prices rebound

Crude oil prices fell slightly during trading in New York, after a U.S. government report projected worldwide demand for oil will decline this year and in 2009.  It would be the first time in three decades that oil demand has declined for two consecutive years.

Meantime, in Germany Tuesday, the closely-watched ZEW survey of investor confidence showed an unexpected improvement in December. Confidence was boosted by interest rate cuts and state efforts to aid Europe's biggest economy.

Also, Germany's trade surplus grew in October, but the outlook for exports remains bleak, due to a sharp decline in orders for German goods.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.