Highlights

-World merchandise trade in 2018

  • The volume of world merchandise trade, as measured by the average of exports and imports, grew by 3.0 % in 2018, just above the 2.9 % increase in world GDP over the same period.
  • The value of merchandise trade increased by 10 % in 2018. The increase in exports was mostly driven by high energy prices while Asia was the main contributor to an increase in global imports.
  • World merchandise exports of fuels and mining products, manufactured goods and agriculture grew by 23 %, 8 % and 5 % respectively.
  • Developing economies exported a total of US$ 8,779 billion in 2018, of which US$ 193 billion were from least developed countries.

 

-World trade in commercial services in 2018

  • Trade in commercial services recorded strong growth for the second year in a row, rising by 7.7%.
  • Information and communication technology recorded the highest export growth (15 %) among services sectors in 2018, led by computer services.
  • Growth in exports of commercial services was highest in the Commonwealth of Independent States (12 %) in 2018, partly due to the FIFA World Cup in Russia.
  • China was the leading exporter of commercial services (by value) among developing countries, with exports increasing by 17% in 2018.

 

-Trends in world trade, 2008-2018

  • World trade and GDP have grown in tandem for the last ten years. Both have increased by 26 % since 2008.
  • World exports of merchandise trade have increased by 20 % in value terms since 2008. Exports of manufactured goods grew at an average annual rate of 2.3 %.
  • World exports of commercial services have increased by 46 % in value terms since 2008 and services exports grew by an average annual rate of 3.9 %.
  • Over the past ten years, Hong Kong China, India, Mexico and Ireland rose the most in world rankings among the top 20 traders of goods and services.

 

-Which sectors increased or declined the most?

  • +4.2% -Exports of pharmaceuticals saw the biggest increase among manufactured goods, rising by 4.2% per year between 2008 and 2018.
  • -2.3% - Exports of iron and steel declined at an annual rate of 2.3% from 2008 to 2018.
  • -1% - World exports of sea transport services declined at an average annual rate of 1% between 2008 and 2018.
  • + 6.5% -Global trade in professional and management consulting services increased at an average annual rate of 6.5% from 2008 to 2018.

 

-Developing economies

  • Developing economies outperformed or equaled the performance of developed economies in world trade in most of the past ten years.
  • From 2011, developing economies’ exports to other developing economies surpassed its exports to developed economies. “South-South” trade represented an estimated US$ 4.28 trillion or 52% of total developing economies’ exports in 2018.
  • Only Tanzania, Cambodia and Ethiopia remained in the top five LDCs for commercial services.

 

-World map

  • US$ 19.09 trillion: Merchandise exports of WTO members totaled US$ 19.09 trillion in 2018.
  • 52%: The top ten traders in merchandise trade accounted for a little over half of the world’s total trade in 2018.
  • 44%: Developing economies had a 44% share in world merchandise trade in 2018.

 

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