Trade structure by product

Many developing economies in Africa and in America export mainly primary goods.
Fuels exports dropped by 20% world wide.
Trade in food increased slightly +2 per cent
African economies’ imports of manufactured goods were more than 3.5 times higher than exports.
Main export products, 2016

Regional specialization patterns

Economies have specialized their exports by different groups of products. In 2016, for many developed economies and developing economies in Southern and Eastern Asia, manufactured goods represented the most exported product group. Many transition economies and developing economies in Western Asia and North and Central Africa relied mainly on fuels. Food was strongly represented in the exports of some economies in South America and Eastern Africa; and ores, metals, precious stones and non-monetary gold in the exports of several Southern and Western African and Central Asian economies.

In developing economies, manufactured goods accounted for 72 percent of total exports – almost as much as in developed economies. In transition economies, only one third of exports were manufactured goods, while fuels accounted for almost one half.

Figure 1Export structure by product group, 2016 (Percentage)
Developing economiesTransition economiesDeveloped economies

Decline in trade at the level of product groups

The continuing decrease in global trade in 2016 (see Total merchandise trade page) was reflected in negative annual growth rates particularly for trade in fuels. In 2016, global fuels exports reached only 80 per cent of their value in 2015. Trade in manufactured goods and agricultural raw materials decreased to a much smaller extent, by 2 per cent each. By contrast, trade in food recorded a slight increase (2 per cent), while trade in ores, metals, precious stones and non-monetary gold remained constant.

Figure 2Annual growth rate of exports by product group, 2016(Percentage)

What do developing economies trade with others?

A breakdown of extra-trade by product group shows that developing economies in Africa and America imported much higher value of manufactured goods from the rest of the world than they exported. While in America this was offset by a positive balance in trade in food and in ores, metals, precious stones and non-monetary gold, in Africa it caused an overall extra-trade deficit. Extra-trade of developing economies in Asia and Oceania recorded a slight surplus resulting from higher exports of manufactured goods than imports.

Figure 3Developing economies’ extra trade structure, 2016 (Percentage of exports)

Summary tables

Table 1

Exports by product group, origin and destination, 2016

(Millions of United States dollars)*

All food items

Origin

Destination

World

Developing economies

Transition economies

Developed
economies

Total

Africa

America

Asia and Oceania

World

1 380 176

554 653

73 562

77 502

403 589

43 491

777 764

(100)

(40)

(5)

(6)

(29)

(3)

(56)

Developing economies

553 468

327 959

43 569

35 674

248 716

14 706

208 783

(100)

(59)

(8)

(6)

(45)

(3)

(38)

Developing economies: Africa

49 887

25 415

12 648

417

12 350

1 335

22 978

(100)

(51)

(25)

(1)

(25)

(3)

(46)

Developing economies: America

204 602

104 733

11 391

30 178

63 164

5 720

93 158

(100)

(51)

(6)

(15)

(31)

(3)

(46)

Developing economies: Asia and Oceania

298 979

197 811

19 530

5 079

173 203

7 650

92 647

(100)

(66)

(7)

(2)

(58)

(3)

(31)

Transition economies

44 483

19 180

4 771

219

14 190

14 682

10 563

(100)

(43)

(11)

(0)

(32)

(33)

(24)

Developed economies

782 225

207 514

25 223

41 609

140 682

14 103

558 418

(100)

(27)

(3)

(5)

(18)

(2)

(71)

*
Percentage of exports to the whole world in parentheses.

Agricultural raw materials

Origin

Destination

World

Developing economies

Transition economies

Developed
economies

Total

Africa

America

Asia and Oceania

World

229 024

112 055

6 150

9 092

96 813

3 842

112 398

(100)

(49)

(3)

(4)

(42)

(2)

(49)

Developing economies

80 966

51 632

2 049

3 155

46 428

699

27 968

(100)

(64)

(3)

(4)

(57)

(1)

(35)

Developing economies: Africa

9 631

6 072

865

103

5 105

61

3 477

(100)

(63)

(9)

(1)

(53)

(1)

(36)

Developing economies: America

20 059

9 907

133

1 845

7 929

225

9 372

(100)

(49)

(1)

(9)

(40)

(1)

(47)

Developing economies: Asia and Oceania

51 277

35 653

1 052

1 207

33 394

414

15 119

(100)

(70)

(2)

(2)

(65)

(1)

(29)

Transition economies

10 748

5 856

250

96

5 510

1 088

3 796

(100)

(54)

(2)

(1)

(51)

(10)

(35)

Developed economies

137 310

54 567

3 851

5 842

44 875

2 055

80 634

(100)

(40)

(3)

(4)

(33)

(1)

(59)

*
Percentage of exports to the whole world in parentheses.

Fuels

Origin

Destination

World

Developing economies

Transition economies

Developed
economies

Total

Africa

America

Asia and Oceania

World

1 510 936

724 647

56 406

88 482

579 759

22 544

732 237

(100)

(48)

(4)

(6)

(38)

(1)

(48)

Developing economies

831 134

540 648

36 192

31 179

473 276

867

286 151

(100)

(65)

(4)

(4)

(57)

(0)

(34)

Developing economies: Africa

128 166

63 687

13 295

5 116

45 276

60

63 735

(100)

(50)

(10)

(4)

(35)

(0)

(50)

Developing economies: America

82 408

42 656

570

21 315

20 772

7

39 223

(100)

(52)

(1)

(26)

(25)

(0)

(48)

Developing economies: Asia and Oceania

620 560

434 304

22 327

4 749

407 229

800

183 194

(100)

(70)

(4)

(1)

(66)

(0)

(30)

Transition economies

185 229

49 739

1 449

1 447

46 843

15 955

119 524

(100)

(27)

(1)

(1)

(25)

(9)

(65)

Developed economies

494 572

134 260

18 764

55 856

59 640

5 721

326 561

(100)

(27)

(4)

(11)

(12)

(1)

(66)

*
Percentage of exports to the whole world in parentheses.

Manufactured goods

Origin

Destination

World

Developing economies

Transition economies

Developed
economies

Total

Africa

America

Asia and Oceania

World

11 255 836

4 449 802

334 055

671 515

3 444 232

271 448

6 515 312

(100)

(40)

(3)

(6)

(31)

(2)

(58)

Developing economies

4 956 927

2 719 183

190 063

269 639

2 259 481

90 262

2 136 481

(100)

(55)

(4)

(5)

(46)

(2)

(43)

Developing economies: Africa

90 854

44 224

28 222

1 932

14 071

388

45 467

(100)

(49)

(31)

(2)

(16)

(0)

(50)

Developing economies: America

457 614

110 190

2 985

86 506

20 699

516

346 192

(100)

(24)

(1)

(19)

(5)

(0)

(76)

Developing economies: Asia and Oceania

4 408 458

2 564 769

158 856

181 201

2 224 712

89 358

1 744 822

(100)

(58)

(4)

(4)

(51)

(2)

(40)

Transition economies

121 643

34 413

4 773

4 183

25 458

39 463

47 717

(100)

(28)

(4)

(3)

(21)

(32)

(39)

Developed economies

6 177 266

1 696 205

139 219

397 694

1 159 293

141 723

4 331 113

(100)

(28)

(2)

(6)

(19)

(2)

(70)

*
Percentage of exports to the whole world in parentheses.

Ores, metals, precious stones and non-monetary gold

Origin

Destination

World

Developing economies

Transition economies

Developed
economies

Total

Africa

America

Asia and Oceania

World

1 054 248

531 038

17 228

19 307

494 503

9 049

502 611

(100)

(50)

(2)

(2)

(47)

(1)

(48)

Developing economies

495 742

300 805

12 075

8 127

280 603

1 672

186 379

(100)

(61)

(2)

(2)

(57)

(0)

(38)

Developing economies: Africa

70 074

38 077

6 992

388

30 697

352

28 195

(100)

(54)

(10)

(1)

(44)

(1)

(40)

Developing economies: America

109 401

55 417

784

5 784

48 849

395

53 235

(100)

(51)

(1)

(5)

(45)

(0)

(49)

Developing economies: Asia and Oceania

316 266

207 311

4 299

1 955

201 057

925

104 949

(100)

(66)

(1)

(1)

(64)

(0)

(33)

Transition economies

43 123

12 086

356

164

11 566

4 694

26 343

(100)

(28)

(1)

(0)

(27)

(11)

(61)

Developed economies

515 383

218 148

4 797

11 016

202 334

2 683

289 888

(100)

(42)

(1)

(2)

(39)

(1)

(56)

*
Percentage of exports to the whole world in parentheses.