Global trade in services stagnant for two consecutive years
Five Asian economies account for half of services exports from developing ecnonomies
African services imports fell by 10 per cent in 2016
The United States of America supplies services worth US$752 billion to other economies
Exports of services, 2016

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

Find the data on UNCTADstat

Stagnation in world services trade

World services exports reached US$4.9 trillion in 2016, one third of the value of merchandise exports. Thereby global trade in services remained stagnant for two years, after a period of steady growth from 2009 to 2014.

Services exports come mainly from developed economies. These together accounted for two thirds of total services exports. However, several Asian developing economies also played an important role. The top five Asian developing economies captured almost 15 per cent of the world market share in 2016, the same share as all other developing economies combined.

Many economies in Africa and South America, where services exports had already been low, recorded a further decrease in 2016.

Figure 1World services exports (Trillions of United States dollars)

Strong slowdown in Africa and transition economies

A review of the changes in exports and imports by development status and region in 2016 reveals a diverse picture. Services imports dropped dramatically in transition economies (-11 per cent). Also African (-10 per cent) and, to a lesser extent, American (-4 per cent) developing economies recorded a strong decrease. In Africa this fall was accompanied by a considerable reduction of exports (-6 per cent). Developed economies, in contrast to developing ones, recorded rising services imports and exports.

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

Leading services exporters

The world’s top services exporter in 2016 was the United States of America, with US$752 billion worth of services sold internationally, representing 15 per cent of global exports, followed by four European Union member States that jointly took one fifth of the world market. Among developing economies, the main players in services trade were located in Asia, led by China (US$208 billion) and India (US$162 billion). China’s services exports were greater than those of the Netherlands, at number five among developed economies.

Figure 3Top services exporters, 2016 (Billions of United States dollars)

Summary tables

Table 1

Trade in services by group of economies

Group of economies

Exports

Imports

Value

Share in world

Annual growth rate

Value

Share in world

Annual growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Percentage)

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Percentage)

2011

2016

2016

2016

2011

2016

2016

2016

World

4 406

4 879

100.0

0.4

4 281

4 797

100.0

0.8

Developing economies

1 242

1 436

29.4

-1.1

1 525

1 818

37.9

-0.6

Developing economies: Africa

98

96

2.0

-5.6

171

144

3.0

-10.1

Developing economies: America

154

171

3.5

0.7

210

203

4.2

-4.0

Developing economies: Asia and Oceania

989

1 169

24.0

-1.0

1 144

1 471

30.7

1.0

Transition economies

116

107

2.2

-0.9

143

126

2.6

-11.0

Developed economies

3 048

3 337

68.4

1.0

2 613

2 853

59.5

2.3

Selected groups

Developing economies excluding China

1 041

1 227

25.2

-0.5

1 277

1 365

28.4

-2.0

Developing economies excluding LDCs

1 212

1 399

28.7

-1.0

1 451

1 749

36.5

-0.3

LDCs

30

36

0.7

-3.6

74

69

1.4

-5.9

LLDCs

34

37

0.8

-5.0

51

56

1.2

-3.6

SIDS (UNCTAD)

18

20

0.4

1.2

16

14

0.3

-3.2

HIPCs (IMF)

30

35

0.7

-3.4

51

55

1.1

-4.7

BRICS

452

469

9.6

-1.2

560

740

15.4

0.8

G20

2 455

2 675

54.8

-0.4

2 435

2 718

56.7

0.5

Table 2

Leading services exporters and importers 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)

Morocco

15

0.32

4.8

South Africa

14

0.29

-4.6

Egypt

(e) 14

(e) 0.29

(e) -22.8

Ghana

(e) 6

(e) 0.12

(e) -0.9

Kenya

(e) 4

(e) 0.08

(e) -11.3

Developing Africa

96

1.96

-5.6

Importer

(Ranked by value)

Value

Share in

world total

Annual

growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Percentage)

Egypt

(e) 17

(e) 0.35

(e) -2.8

South Africa

15

0.31

-3.7

Angola

(e) 13

(e) 0.26

(e) -27.4

Nigeria

(e) 12

(e) 0.26

(e) -38.5

Algeria

(e) 11

(e) 0.23

(e) -2.3

Developing Africa

144

3.01

-10.1

Developing economies: America

Exporter

(Ranked by value)

Value

Share in

world total

Annual

growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Percentage)

Brazil

(e) 33

(e) 0.68

(e) -1.4

Mexico

24

0.49

5.3

Argentina

(e) 13

(e) 0.26

(e) -8.9

Panama

(e) 12

(e) 0.25

(e) 2.0

Cuba

(e) 11

(e) 0.23

(e) -1.1

Developing America

171

3.51

0.7

Importer

(Ranked by value)

Value

Share in

world total

Annual

growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Percentage)

Brazil

(e) 64

(e) 1.33

(e) -9.8

Mexico

32

0.67

-0.4

Argentina

(e) 20

(e) 0.41

(e) 10.3

Chile

(e) 13

(e) 0.27

(e) -3.8

Venezuela (Bolivarian Rep. of)

-

-

-

Developing America

203

4.23

-4.0

Developing economies: Asia and Oceania

Exporter

(Ranked by value)

Value

Share in

world total

Annual

growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Percentage)

China

208

4.27

-4.2

India

(e) 162

(e) 3.32

(e) 3.6

Singapore

150

3.07

0.7

China, Hong Kong SAR

(e) 98

(e) 2.02

(e) -5.7

Korea, Republic of

93

1.90

-5.0

Developing Asia and Oceania

1 169

23.96

-1.0

Importer

(Ranked by value)

Value

Share in

world total

Annual

growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Percentage)

China

453

9.44

3.9

Singapore

156

3.24

0.7

India

(e) 134

(e) 2.79

(e) 8.2

Korea, Republic of

110

2.30

-2.0

United Arab Emirates

83

1.73

2.8

Developing Asia and Oceania

1 471

30.65

1.0

Transition economies

Exporter

(Ranked by value)

Value

Share in

world total

Annual

growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Percentage)

Russian Federation

51

1.04

-2.3

Ukraine

(e) 12

(e) 0.25

(e) -0.4

Belarus

7

0.14

2.7

Kazakhstan

(e) 6

(e) 0.13

(e) -2.4

Serbia

(e) 6

(e) 0.13

(e) 7.3

Transition economies

107

2.19

-0.9

Importer

(Ranked by value)

Value

Share in

world total

Annual

growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Percentage)

Russian Federation

74

1.55

-16.1

Ukraine

(e) 11

(e) 0.23

(e) 4.6

Kazakhstan

(e) 11

(e) 0.23

(e) -4.6

Azerbaijan

(e) 8

(e) 0.16

(e) -13.2

Serbia

(e) 5

(e) 0.10

(e) 2.7

Transition economies

126

2.64

-11.0

Developed economies

Exporter

(Ranked by value)

Value

Share in

world total

Annual

growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Percentage)

United States

(e) 752

(e) 15.42

(e) 0.2

United Kingdom

(e) 327

(e) 6.71

(e) -5.0

Germany

(e) 273

(e) 5.59

(e) 3.1

France

(e) 237

(e) 4.85

(e) -2.0

Netherlands

(e) 180

(e) 3.68

(e) 1.0

Developed economies

3 337

68.38

1.0

Importer

(Ranked by value)

Value

Share in

world total

Annual

growth rate

(Billions of US$)

(Percentage)

(Percentage)

United States

(e) 503

(e) 10.49

(e) 2.9

Germany

(e) 312

(e) 6.51

(e) 4.3

France

(e) 236

(e) 4.91

(e) 1.7

United Kingdom

(e) 199

(e) 4.14

(e) -5.6

Ireland

(e) 192

(e) 4.00

(e) 14.6

Developed economies

2 853

59.48

2.3