World trade declines two years in a row
China, the United States of America and Germany account for 30 per cent of global exports
Transition economies’ exports down by 15 per cent in 2016
The trade surpluses of developing and transition economies declined over the last three years
Total merchandise exports, 2016

Note: The area of economies is proportional to the value of exports in United States dollars.

Find the data on UNCTADstat

Different exposure to the decline in trade

Transition economies recorded a particularly steep decrease (-15 per cent) in merchandise exports. The fact that imports decreased much less (-1 per cent) negatively affected their aggregate trade balance. Developing economies in Africa were also relatively strongly affected by the decline in trade, both for exports (-11 per cent) and imports (-11 per cent). Developing economies in America experienced a sizeable drop (-9 per cent) in their imports and a smaller decrease in exports (-4%).

Figure 2Merchandise trade annual growth rates, 2016 (Percentage)

Trade imbalances decreasing

In 2016, as in the past, developing and transition economies recorded merchandise trade surpluses and developed economies a merchandise trade deficit. The surpluses of developing and transition economies were lower than was the case three years earlier. The surplus for developing economies totaled US$397 billion, accounting for 6 per cent of their merchandise imports. Excluding China, the result would be a deficit equivalent to 2 per cent. For least developed countries (LDCs), the deficit amounted to 33 per cent of imports.

Figure 3Merchandise trade balance* (Billions of United States dollars)
*
Sum of the trade balances of individual economies, including intra-group trade.

Summary tables

Table 1

Merchandise trade by group of economies

Group of economies

Exports

Imports

Trade balance

Value

Annual growth rate

Value

Annual growth rate

Value

Ratio to imports

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Millions of US$)

(Percentage)

2011

2016

2016

2011

2016

2016

2016

2016

World

18 339

15 986

-3.0

18 416

16 150

-3.0

-164

-1.0

Developing economies

7 899

6 988

-4.9

7 342

6 591

-5.7

397

6.0

Developing economies: Africa

611

349

-10.5

567

494

-10.9

-145

-29.4

Developing economies: America

1 111

886

-4.0

1 097

932

-9.5

-46

-4.9

Developing economies: Asia and Oceania

6 178

5 754

-4.7

5 678

5 166

-4.4

588

11.4

Transition economies

811

448

-14.6

587

376

-1.4

72

19.1

Developed economies

9 629

8 550

-0.7

10 486

9 183

-1.1

-633

-6.9

Selected groups

Developing economies excluding China

6 001

4 891

-3.7

5 599

5 003

-5.7

-113

-2.3

Developing economies excluding LDCs

7 697

6 841

-5.0

7 133

6 373

-5.6

468

7.3

LDCs

203

147

-3.8

209

218

-7.8

-71

-32.6

LLDCs

221

141

-9.6

186

176

-6.7

-35

-19.7

SIDS (UNCTAD)

24

15

-17.9

36

34

-2.2

-19

-55.7

HIPCs (IMF)

119

101

-2.4

154

159

-7.3

-58

-36.7

BRICS

3 088

2 904

-8.0

2 893

2 374

-6.8

530

22.3

G20

10 909

9 691

-4.0

11 442

9 844

-3.9

-153

-1.6

Table 2

Merchandise trade of least developed countries, main exporters

Economya

Exports

Imports

Trade balance

Value

Annual growth rate

Value

Annual growth rate

Value

Ratio to imports

(Millions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Millions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Millions of US$)

(Percentage)

2011

2016

2016

2011

2016

2016

2016

2016

LDCs

202 727

147 019

-3.8

209 431

218 247

-7.8

-71 228

-32.6

LDCs: Africa and Haiti

147 942

84 032

-10.9

126 283

115 605

-15.3

-31 573

-27.3

Angola

67 310

27 306

-17.7

20 228

12 538

-39.4

14 768

117.8

Zambia

9 001

(e) 5 801

(e) -16.9

7 178

(e) 7 045

(e) -16.7

(e) -1 243

(e) -17.7

Dem. Rep. of the Congo

(e) 6 600

(e) 5 526

(e) -4.7

(e) 5 500

(e) 5 648

(e) -8.9

(e) -123

(e) -2.2

United Republic of Tanzania

4 735

5 172

4.9

10 799

9 488

-12.1

-4 316

-45.5

Equatorial Guinea

(e) 13 500

(e) 4 800

(e) -26.2

(e) 6 500

(e) 2 800

(e) -17.6

(e) 2 000

(e) 71.4

LDCs: Asia

54 241

62 450

7.7

81 530

100 538

2.5

-38 088

-37.9

Bangladesh

24 439

34 971

8.0

36 214

44 832

6.6

-9 861

-22.0

Myanmar

9 238

(e) 11 240

(e) -1.7

9 019

(e) 15 380

(e) -8.9

(e) -4 140

(e) -26.9

Cambodia

6 704

10 069

17.9

(e) 9 300

12 632

6.4

-2 562

-20.3

Lao People's Dem. Rep.

2 190

3 352

21.1

2 404

4 739

-9.4

-1 387

-29.3

Yemen

(e) 9 700

1 000

0.0

11 260

6 770

3.0

-5 770

-85.2

LDCs: Islands

545

537

8.5

1 619

2 104

-6.6

-1 566

-74.5

Solomon Islands

418

(e) 415

(e) 3.6

469

(e) 430

(e) -7.9

(e) -15

(e) -3.5

Vanuatu

67

50

28.2

304

422

15.0

-372

-88.2

Comoros

26

31

80.8

277

219

2.7

-189

-86.0

Timor-Leste

13

20

11.1

319

(e) 780

(e) -14.3

(e) -760

(e) -97.4

Kiribati

9

(e) 11

(e) 0.0

92

(e) 85

(e) -26.1

(e) -74

(e) -87.1

a
Ranked by value of exports in 2016.
e
Estimated data.
Find the data on UNCTADstat
Table 3

Leading exporters and importers in developing economies, by group of economies, 2016

Developing economies: Africa

Exporter

(Ranked by value)

Value

Share in

world total

Annual

growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Percentage)

South Africa

75

0.47

-7.8

Nigeria

33

0.21

-36.2

Algeria

29

0.18

-16.7

Angola

27

0.17

-17.7

Egypt

25

0.16

19.3

Developing Africa

349

2.18

-10.5

Importer

(Ranked by value)

Value

Share in

world total

Annual

growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Percentage)

South Africa

(e) 92

(e) 0.57

(e) -12.5

Egypt

56

0.35

-12.2

Algeria

47

0.29

-9.6

Morocco

42

0.26

9.0

Nigeria

39

0.24

-18.8

Developing Africa

494

3.06

-10.9

Developing economies: America

Exporter

(Ranked by value)

Value

Share in

world total

Annual

growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Percentage)

Mexico

374

2.34

-1.7

Brazil

185

1.16

-3.1

Chile

61

0.38

-2.6

Argentina

58

0.36

1.7

Peru

37

0.23

7.6

Developing America

886

5.54

-4.0

Importer

(Ranked by value)

Value

Share in

world total

Annual

growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Percentage)

Mexico

398

2.46

-1.9

Brazil

143

0.89

-19.8

Chile

59

0.36

-5.9

Argentina

56

0.34

-6.9

Colombia

45

0.28

-17.0

Developing America

932

5.77

-9.5

Developing economies: Asia and Oceania

Exporter

(Ranked by value)

Value

Share in

world total

Annual

growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Percentage)

China

2 098

13.12

-7.7

China, Hong Kong SAR

517

3.23

1.2

Korea, Republic of

495

3.10

-5.9

Singapore

338

2.11

-2.5

China, Taiwan Province of

280

1.75

-1.8

Developing Asia and Oceania

5 754

35.99

-4.7

Importer

(Ranked by value)

Value

Share in

world total

Annual

growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Percentage)

China

1 588

9.83

-5.5

China, Hong Kong SAR

547

3.39

-2.2

Korea, Republic of

406

2.52

-6.9

India

360

2.23

-8.4

Singapore

292

1.81

-1.6

Developing Asia and Oceania

5 166

31.99

-4.4