Merchandise exports nowcast to reach US$20 trillion in 2018
Recent upswing of exports spread over almost the entire world
Africa’s exports increased at double the pace of imports
Imbalance in North-South trade decreasing
Total merchandise exports, 2017
Economies

    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 upswing in trade

    Transition economies recorded a particularly vigorous increase in exports (24 per cent) and imports (21 per cent). In the developing economies of Africa and America, the upswing in world trade manifested itself mainly on the export side; African exports (16 per cent) increased at double the rate of imports. By contrast, in the developing economies of Asia and Oceania, imports increased faster than exports. In developed economies, exports and imports rose comparatively moderately, each by around 9 per cent.

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

    Development of global trade imbalances

    The monetary value of the goods which developing and transition economies export to the world is greater than the value of the goods they import. For developed economies the opposite is the case. Nevertheless, from 2015 to 2017, the average annual surplus for developing economies of US$355 billion was already US$127 billion less than during the preceding three years. Meanwhile, the annual deficit for developed economies reduced from US$742 billion to US$680 billion. All in all, North-South trade has become more balanced.

    Figure 3Merchandise trade balance (three-year average) (Billions of United States dollars)

    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)

    2012

    2017

    2017

    2012

    2017

    2017

    2017

    2017

    World

    18 502

    17 707

    10.4

    18 629

    17 993

    10.9

    -286

    -1.6

    Developing economies

    8 230

    7 851

    11.6

    7 686

    7 510

    12.9

    341

    4.5

    Developing economies: Africa

    640

    414

    16.4

    617

    534

    7.6

    -120

    -22.5

    Developing economies: America

    1 123

    995

    11.8

    1 127

    1 013

    8.4

    -18

    -1.7

    Developing economies: Asia and Oceania

    6 468

    6 442

    11.2

    5 942

    5 963

    14.2

    479

    8.0

    Transition economies

    823

    549

    23.8

    615

    450

    20.8

    99

    21.9

    Developed economies

    9 449

    9 307

    8.8

    10 329

    10 032

    9.1

    -725

    -7.2

    Selected groups

    Developing economies excluding China

    6 180

    5 588

    13.1

    5 866

    5 666

    11.9

    -79

    -1.4

    Developing economies excluding LDCs

    8 025

    7 677

    11.5

    7 454

    7 261

    13.0

    416

    5.7

    LDCs

    190

    169

    16.4

    224

    247

    10.6

    -77

    -31.3

    LLDCs

    225

    162

    17.1

    211

    191

    9.6

    -29

    -15.2

    SIDS (UNCTAD)

    22

    17

    11.3

    37

    35

    3.7

    -18

    -51.8

    HIPCs (IMF)

    124

    117

    16.2

    174

    167

    5.6

    -50

    -29.8

    BRICS

    3 218

    3 223

    10.9

    3 006

    2 788

    17.3

    435

    15.6

    G20

    13 816

    13 605

    10.1

    14 380

    13 846

    11.3

    -241

    -1.7

    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)

    2012

    2017

    2017

    2012

    2017

    2017

    2017

    2017

    LDCs

    189 669

    169 409

    16.4

    223 854

    246 593

    10.6

    -77 184

    -31.3

    LDCs: Africa and Haiti

    134 758

    99 995

    21.1

    134 685

    125 610

    6.5

    -25 615

    -20.4

    Angola

    71 093

    34 614

    25.5

    23 717

    14 463

    10.9

    20 150

    139.3

    Zambia

    9 365

    8 151

    25.1

    8 805

    8 695

    15.1

    -544

    -6.3

    Dem. Rep. of the Congo

    (e) 6 300

    7 765

    38.0

    (e) 6 100

    5 216

    1.8

    2 549

    48.9

    Mozambique

    3 856

    4 725

    42.0

    8 688

    5 745

    8.5

    -1 020

    -17.8

    Guinea

    1 928

    4 594

    90.3

    2 254

    3 484

    -21.3

    1 110

    31.9

    LDCs: Asia

    54 288

    68 791

    10.4

    87 179

    118 691

    15.4

    -49 901

    -42.0

    Bangladesh

    25 127

    35 851

    2.7

    34 173

    52 836

    18.0

    -16 985

    -32.1

    Myanmar

    8 877

    13 884

    17.3

    9 201

    19 249

    20.9

    -5 366

    -27.9

    Cambodia

    7 838

    (e) 11 011

    (e) 9.4

    (e) 11 350

    (e) 15 495

    (e) 9.9

    (e) -4 484

    (e) -28.9

    Lao People's Dem. Rep.

    2 271

    4 823

    43.9

    3 055

    5 636

    18.9

    -813

    -14.4

    Yemen

    (e) 8 300

    (e) 1 209

    (e) 225.9

    13 273

    (e) 7 024

    (e) 1.3

    (e) -5 815

    (e) -82.8

    LDCs: Islands

    623

    624

    10.8

    1 990

    2 293

    6.4

    -1 669

    -72.8

    Solomon Islands

    500

    500

    14.3

    486

    571

    25.6

    -71

    -12.5

    Comoros

    20

    40

    28.6

    273

    252

    14.7

    -212

    -84.3

    Vanuatu

    55

    38

    -23.5

    296

    387

    -8.2

    -349

    -90.1

    Timor-Leste

    31

    17

    -16.7

    664

    (e) 780

    (e) 0.6

    (e) -763

    (e) -97.9

    Sao Tome and Principe

    12

    16

    14.3

    131

    147

    5.5

    -131

    -89.4

    a
    Ranked by value of exports in 2017.
    (e)
    Estimated data.
    Find the data on UNCTADstat
    Table 3

    Leading exporters and importers in developing economies, 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)

    South Africa

    89

    0.50

    16.4

    Nigeria

    (e) 47

    (e) 0.26

    (e) 34.0

    Algeria

    (e) 35

    (e) 0.20

    (e) 17.2

    Angola

    35

    0.20

    25.5

    Egypt

    26

    0.14

    0.5

    Developing Africa

    414

    2.34

    16.4

    Importer

    (Ranked by value)

    Value

    Share in

    world total

    Annual

    growth rate

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    (Percentage)

    South Africa

    101

    0.56

    10.6

    Egypt

    62

    0.34

    10.5

    Algeria

    (e) 46

    (e) 0.26

    (e) -2.2

    Nigeria

    (e) 45

    (e) 0.25

    (e) 15.4

    Morocco

    45

    0.25

    7.8

    Developing Africa

    534

    2.97

    7.6

    Developing economies: America

    Exporter

    (Ranked by value)

    Value

    Share in

    world total

    Annual

    growth rate

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    (Percentage)

    Mexico

    409

    2.31

    9.5

    Brazil

    218

    1.23

    17.5

    Chile

    69

    0.39

    14.0

    Argentina

    58

    0.33

    0.9

    Peru

    45

    0.26

    22.1

    Developing America

    995

    5.62

    11.8

    Importer

    (Ranked by value)

    Value

    Share in

    world total

    Annual

    growth rate

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    (Percentage)

    Mexico

    432

    2.40

    8.7

    Brazil

    158

    0.88

    9.8

    Argentina

    67

    0.37

    19.7

    Chile

    65

    0.36

    10.7

    Colombia

    46

    0.26

    2.6

    Developing America

    1 013

    5.63

    8.4

    Developing economies: Asia and Oceania

    Exporter

    (Ranked by value)

    Value

    Share in

    world total

    Annual

    growth rate

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    (Percentage)

    China

    2 263

    12.78

    7.9

    Korea, Republic of

    574

    3.24

    15.8

    China, Hong Kong SAR

    550

    3.11

    6.5

    Singapore

    373

    2.11

    10.4

    China, Taiwan Province of

    317

    1.79

    13.2

    Developing Asia and Oceania

    6 442

    36.38

    11.2

    Importer

    (Ranked by value)

    Value

    Share in

    world total

    Annual

    growth rate

    (Billions of US$)

    (Percentage)

    (Percentage)

    China

    1 844

    10.25

    16.1

    China, Hong Kong SAR

    590

    3.28

    7.8

    Korea, Republic of

    478

    2.66

    17.8

    India

    447

    2.48

    23.8

    Singapore

    328

    1.82

    12.3

    Developing Asia and Oceania

    5 963

    33.14

    14.2

    (e)
    Estimated data.
    Find the data on UNCTADstat