Trade in services by category

Changes in services exports by category, 2011–2016 (Average annual growth rate, percentage)
Map changes in services exports by category, 2011–2016
a
Equivalent to the group ‘Developed economies: America’ on UNCTADstat.
b
Equivalent to the group ‘Developing economies: America’ on UNCTADstat.
c
Incl. the Russian Federation and the French overseas departments.
Find the data on UNCTADstat

Regional trends

Over the last five years, exports of transport, travel, goods-related and other services developed differently in the various regions of the world. For example, exports of travel increased strongly in Northern America, in Latin America and the Caribbean and in Asia, whereas they fell in Africa and Europe. Exports of the group ‘other services’ increased in most regions of the world, particularly in Asia.

Figure 1Structure of services exports, 2016
Structure of services exports, 2016 network chart

Note: For the grouping of service categories, see Classifications page.

Structure by group of economies and category in 2016

In 2016, travel constituted an important category of services exported by developing economies, accounting on average for one third of their total services exports. Developing economies exported travel services to non-residents worth almost half a trillion United States dollars. That segment was thereby of equal size as exports of insurance, pension and financial services by developed economies. Travel has been growing over recent years, driven in particular by trends in Latin America and the Caribbean and in Asia.

The services exports of developed economies were dominated by business services such as research and development, consulting, technical and trade-related services and charges on intellectual property, jointly accounting for around US$1 trillion, while exports of travel came second (US$700 billion).

Figure 2Annual growth rate of services exports*, 2016 (Percentage)
*
Selected categories.

Note: For the grouping of service categories, see Classifications page.

Global trends in 2016

The stagnation of global trade in total services in 2016 (see Total trade in services page) masks notable changes at the level of individual service categories. Telecommunications, computer and information services showed a relatively strong increase (4.5 per cent). Exports of intellectual property and other business services as well as of personal, cultural and recreational services recorded positive growth rates, ranging between 2 and 3 per cent. Travel receipts increased by modest 1.8 per cent. Meanwhile, trade in international transport (-4.3 per cent) and in insurance, pension and financial services (-2.6 per cent), two service groups strongly linked with merchandise trade, declined. 2016 was a particularly unfavorable year for trade in construction, recording a drop of 8.7 per cent.

Summary tables

Table 1

Trade in services by service category and by group of economies

Developing economies

Service category

Exports

Imports

Value

Annual growth rate

Value

Annual growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

2011

2016

2016

2011

2016

2016

Total services

1 242

1 436

-1.1

1 525

1 818

-0.6

Goods-related services

47

48

2.6

31

31

-2.4

Transport

289

298

-5.3

529

480

-5.6

Travel

404

477

0.3

335

573

2.1

Other services

501

613

-0.3

630

733

0.9

Developing economies: Africa

Service category

Exports

Imports

Value

Annual growth rate

Value

Annual growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

2011

2016

2016

2011

2016

2016

Total services

98

96

-5.6

171

144

-10.1

Goods-related services

2

2

8.8

0

1

15.5

Transport

26

26

-8.6

61

55

-9.7

Travel

42

35

-7.7

28

21

-17.7

Other services

28

32

-1.2

83

68

-8.1

Developing economies: America

Service category

Exports

Imports

Value

Annual growth rate

Value

Annual growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

2011

2016

2016

2011

2016

2016

Total services

154

171

0.7

210

203

-4.0

Goods-related services

4

4

0.9

0

1

-3.0

Transport

30

27

-3.8

66

56

-5.9

Travel

60

79

5.5

49

51

-1.6

Other services

60

60

-3.0

93

95

-4.2

Developing economies: Asia and Oceania

Service category

Exports

Imports

Value

Annual growth rate

Value

Annual growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

2011

2016

2016

2011

2016

2016

Total services

989

1 169

-1.0

1 144

1 471

1.0

Goods-related services

42

42

2.5

30

30

-2.8

Transport

232

244

-5.1

402

370

-4.9

Travel

302

362

0.1

258

500

3.5

Other services

413

520

0.1

454

571

3.1

Transition economies

Service category

Exports

Imports

Value

Annual growth rate

Value

Annual growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

2011

2016

2016

2011

2016

2016

Total services

116

107

-0.9

143

126

-11.0

Goods-related services

9

7

11.9

2

3

8.7

Transport

40

37

-1.9

30

23

-2.2

Travel

27

24

1.6

47

40

-21.1

Other services

40

39

-3.5

65

61

-7.0

Developed economies

Service category

Exports

Imports

Value

Annual growth rate

Value

Annual growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

2011

2016

2016

2011

2016

2016

Total services

3 048

3 337

1.0

2 613

2 853

2.3

Goods-related services

97

112

2.5

55

75

1.2

Transport

575

518

-3.9

555

521

-1.9

Travel

636

704

2.8

573

586

4.7

Other services

1 741

2 003

1.7

1 430

1 671

3.0

Table 2

Developing economies’ exports of selected services by region, 2016

(Millions of United States dollars)

Group of economies

Insurance
and
pension services

Financial
services

Charges for the use of intellectual
property n.i.e.

Telecommunications,
computer,
and information services

Other
business
services

Developing Africa

1 540

2 260

260

5 960

14 150

Eastern Africa

320

350

90

1 140

1 580

Middle Africa

-

-

-

-

-

Northern Africa

590

650

30

2 830

4 100

Southern Africa

200

810

110

600

2 430

Western Africa

160

380

-

1 180

5 390

Developing America

5 260

3 100

1 350

7 800

34 780

Caribbean

-

-

70

540

5 740

Central America

3 040

1 370

240

2 440

3 790

South America

1 750

1 220

1 040

4 820

25 260

Developing Asia and Oceania

20 610

59 050

17 670

119 690

241 600

Eastern Asia

6 530

26 800

9 680

34 300

100 910

Southern Asia

2 470

5 670

560

58 240

55 410

South-Eastern Asia

7 000

20 930

5 660

16 280

75 900

Western Asia

4 610

5 650

1 770

10 870

9 380

Oceania

-

-

-

-

-