Services exports nowcast to increase by 9.5% in 2018
Africa’s services exports growing by 14%
Five Asian economies export half of all services provided by the developing world
The United States of America remain the world’s leading services exporter (US$780 billion in 2017)
Exports of services, 2017
Economies

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

    Find the data on UNCTADstat

    World services trade rising again

    After a strong increase of 7.8 per cent in 2017, even higher growth of world services exports, of 9.5 per cent, is nowcast for 2018.

    In 2017, global services trade reached US$5.4 trillion, one third of the value of merchandise exports. It was a year of recovery, after two years of relatively slack trade between 2014 to 2016.

    Services exports mainly come from developed economies. These supply over two thirds of services traded internationally. However, several Asian developing economies have established themselves as important exporters ( see below).

    The upturn in services exports in 2017 was a worldwide trend. Only a few economies, such as the Republic of Korea, Norway and some countries in Africa and the Caribbean, recorded negative growth rates.

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

    Note: The shaded area indicates UNCTAD nowcasts. For the methodology, see Calculation methods page.

    Highest growth in Africa and in transition economies

    Looking at the breakdown by development status, particularly high growth was recorded in transition economies (exports: 13.8 per cent, imports: 14.6 per cent) and African developing economies (exports: 13.7 per cent, imports: 10.4 per cent). In other words, growth was particularly high for groups with a relatively low base in services trade. In the developing economies of America and of Asia and Oceania, as well as in developed economies, services exports and imports expanded at more modest rates, between 6 and 8 per cent.

    Figure 2 Services trade annual growth rates, 2017 (Percentage)

    Leading services exporters

    The world's top services exporter in 2017 was the United States of America, with US$781 billion worth of services sold internationally, representing 15 per cent of global exports. They were followed, at some distance, by three European Union member states that jointly captured 17 per cent of the world market.

    The top five developing economies were Asian, comprising China, India, Singapore, Hong Kong SAR and the Republic of Korea. These five held a world market share of almost 15 per cent, the same as all other developing economies combined.

    Figure 3 Top 5 services exporters, 2017 (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)

    2012

    2017

    2017

    2017

    2012

    2017

    2017

    2017

    World

    4 545

    5 351

    100.0

    7.8

    4 459

    5 182

    100.0

    6.4

    Developing economies

    1 328

    1 579

    29.5

    7.8

    1 639

    1 951

    37.7

    6.3

    Developing economies: Africa

    104

    109

    2.0

    13.7

    172

    160

    3.1

    10.4

    Developing economies: America

    164

    185

    3.5

    6.0

    224

    218

    4.2

    6.4

    Developing economies: Asia and Oceania

    1 060

    1 285

    24.0

    7.5

    1 244

    1 573

    30.4

    5.9

    Transition economies

    125

    122

    2.3

    13.8

    168

    146

    2.8

    14.6

    Developed economies

    3 092

    3 650

    68.2

    7.7

    2 652

    3 084

    59.5

    6.1

    Selected groups

    Developing economies excluding China

    1 127

    1 351

    25.2

    7.6

    1 358

    1 484

    28.6

    7.2

    Developing economies excluding LDCs

    1 296

    1 540

    28.8

    7.8

    1 563

    1 878

    36.2

    6.2

    LDCs

    32

    39

    0.7

    7.3

    73

    72

    1.4

    8.6

    LLDCs

    37

    42

    0.8

    9.1

    59

    60

    1.2

    4.8

    SIDS (UNCTAD)

    19

    23

    0.4

    5.8

    13

    16

    0.3

    8.4

    HIPCs (IMF)

    29

    35

    0.7

    5.5

    51

    59

    1.1

    4.7

    BRICS

    466

    520

    9.7

    10.8

    618

    795

    15.3

    7.6

    G20

    3 563

    4 156

    77.7

    8.0

    3 361

    3 978

    76.8

    6.8

    Table 2

    Leading services exporters and importers by group of economies, 2017

    Developing economies: Africa

    Exporter

    (Ranked by value)

    Value

    Share in

    world total

    Annual

    growth rate

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    (Percentage)

    Egypt

    (e) 20

    (e) 0.37

    (e) 47.2

    Morocco

    17

    0.32

    12.2

    South Africa

    16

    0.29

    9.8

    Ghana

    (e) 7

    (e) 0.12

    (e) 5.3

    Nigeria

    5

    0.09

    34.6

    Developing Africa

    109

    2.04

    13.7

    Importer

    (Ranked by value)

    Value

    Share in

    world total

    Annual

    growth rate

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    (Percentage)

    Nigeria

    18

    0.35

    55.6

    Egypt

    (e) 17

    (e) 0.34

    (e) 2.2

    South Africa

    16

    0.31

    8.2

    Angola

    (e) 14

    (e) 0.28

    (e) 13.3

    Algeria

    (e) 12

    (e) 0.22

    (e) 6.6

    Developing Africa

    160

    3.09

    10.4

    Developing economies: America

    Exporter

    (Ranked by value)

    Value

    Share in

    world total

    Annual

    growth rate

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    (Percentage)

    Brazil

    34

    0.64

    3.5

    Mexico

    27

    0.51

    10.1

    Argentina

    14

    0.27

    10.8

    Panama

    13

    0.25

    7.2

    Cuba

    (e) 11

    (e) 0.21

    (e) 0.2

    Developing America

    185

    3.46

    6.0

    Importer

    (Ranked by value)

    Value

    Share in

    world total

    Annual

    growth rate

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    (Percentage)

    Brazil

    68

    1.32

    7.2

    Mexico

    37

    0.71

    9.9

    Argentina

    24

    0.46

    14.1

    Chile

    (e) 13

    (e) 0.25

    (e) 3.4

    Colombia

    (e) 12

    (e) 0.23

    (e) 10.5

    Developing America

    218

    4.21

    6.4

    Developing economies: Asia and Oceania

    Exporter

    (Ranked by value)

    Value

    Share in

    world total

    Annual

    growth rate

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    (Percentage)

    China

    228

    4.26

    8.9

    India

    184

    3.44

    13.7

    Singapore

    165

    3.08

    4.3

    China, Hong Kong SAR

    (e) 104

    (e) 1.94

    (e) 5.2

    Korea, Republic of

    87

    1.64

    -7.8

    Developing Asia and Oceania

    1 285

    24.01

    7.5

    Importer

    (Ranked by value)

    Value

    Share in

    world total

    Annual

    growth rate

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    (Percentage)

    China

    468

    9.02

    3.4

    Singapore

    171

    3.30

    5.1

    India

    (e) 154

    (e) 2.97

    (e) 15.3

    Korea, Republic of

    122

    2.35

    8.3

    United Arab Emirates

    86

    1.65

    2.0

    Developing Asia and Oceania

    1 573

    30.36

    5.9

    Transition economies

    Exporter

    (Ranked by value)

    Value

    Share in

    world total

    Annual

    growth rate

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    (Percentage)

    Russian Federation

    (e) 58

    (e) 1.08

    (e) 14.4

    Ukraine

    14

    0.26

    13.2

    Belarus

    8

    0.15

    14.5

    Serbia

    (e) 7

    (e) 0.14

    (e) 18.5

    Kazakhstan

    6

    0.12

    2.1

    Transition economies

    122

    2.29

    13.8

    Importer

    (Ranked by value)

    Value

    Share in

    world total

    Annual

    growth rate

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    (Percentage)

    Russian Federation

    (e) 89

    (e) 1.71

    (e) 19.2

    Ukraine

    13

    0.26

    11.4

    Kazakhstan

    11

    0.21

    -1.9

    Azerbaijan

    8

    0.16

    7.2

    Serbia

    (e) 6

    (e) 0.11

    (e) 19.1

    Transition economies

    146

    2.82

    14.6

    Developed economies

    Exporter

    (Ranked by value)

    Value

    Share in

    world total

    Annual

    growth rate

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    (Percentage)

    United States of America

    (e) 781

    (e) 14.59

    (e) 3.8

    United Kingdom

    (e) 351

    (e) 6.55

    (e) 5.8

    Germany

    (e) 304

    (e) 5.68

    (e) 8.1

    France

    (e) 249

    (e) 4.66

    (e) 6.0

    Netherlands

    (e) 218

    (e) 4.08

    (e) 15.3

    Developed economies

    3 650

    68.20

    7.7

    Importer

    (Ranked by value)

    Value

    Share in

    world total

    Annual

    growth rate

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    (Percentage)

    United States of America

    (e) 538

    (e) 10.38

    (e) 6.6

    Germany

    (e) 324

    (e) 6.25

    (e) 6.2

    France

    (e) 240

    (e) 4.64

    (e) 2.2

    United Kingdom

    (e) 215

    (e) 4.15

    (e) 4.0

    Netherlands

    (e) 211

    (e) 4.07

    (e) 14.4

    Developed economies

    3 084

    59.52

    6.1