Trade openness index, 2019

Note: This index measures the relative importance of international trade in goods relative to the domestic economic output of an economy. Exports are given equal weight to imports.

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How important is trade for economies?

In 2019, the economies most open to international trade, as measured by the ratio of the mean of exports and imports to GDP, were relatively small economies in South-Eastern Asia and Eastern Europe, including Hong Kong SAR, Singapore, Viet Nam, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia. By contrast, many developing economies in South America, Eastern Africa, except Djibouti, and Southern Asia, as well as some large developed economies, namely the United States of America and Japan, recorded ratios below 15 per cent.

How has the relative price of exports to imports developed?

The terms of trade of developing and transition economies decreased slightly in 2019. Landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) saw a decline of 5 per cent. In developed economies the indicator remained unchanged.

Figure 1Terms of trade index (2015=100)

Note: This index indicates by how much the relative price between exports and imports has changed in relation to the base year.

How concentrated is global product supply?

Product groups differ in the degree to which global supply is concentrated among exporting economies. In 2019, the most unequally distributed or highly concentrated group, by far, was manufacturing, as indicated by a market concentration index of 0.20, as compared with index values between 0.11 and 0.15 recorded for the other product groups. The concentration index for food has been declining over the last 14 years. For fuels, over the last two years, a considerable increase in the concentration of world market supply was observed.

Figure 2Market concentration index of exports

Note: This index measures the extent to which a high proportion of exports are delivered by a small number of economies. It has a value of 1 if all exports originate from a single economy.

How have trade volumes changed?

The volume of world merchandise exports remained almost unchanged between 2018 and 2019. This stagnation can be observed in the exports of all groups of countries classified by development status. On the import side, however, corresponding to the developments of imports in value (see on the Total merchandise trade page), a considerable increase (+7.2 per cent) was observed exclusively in transition economies. This marks the continuation of a phase of strong import growth in transition economies which began in 2016 and, within three years, led to an increase of their import volumes to 128 per cent of their 2015 level, while their export volumes reached only 110 per cent of their level of 2015.

Figure 3Volume index of exports and imports (2015=100)

Note: This index indicates the change in exports or imports, adjusted for the movement of prices, relative to the base year.

Summary tables

Table 1

Selected trade indices by group of economies

(2015=100)

Developing economies

Year

Volumea

Purchasing
power
of exportsb

Terms of
tradec

Imports

Exports

2009

73

69

71

97

2014

100

100

100

100

2018

110

111

110

100

2019

110

110

109

99

Developing economies: Africa

Year

Volumea

Purchasing
power
of exportsb

Terms of
tradec

Imports

Exports

2009

106

73

98

93

2014

108

100

124

115

2018

104

97

115

111

2019

106

100

114

108

a
See note, figure 3 above.
b
This index indicates the change in exports, valuated in prices of imports, relative to the base year.
c
See note, figure 1 above.

Developing economies: America

Year

Volumea

Purchasing
power
of exportsb

Terms of
tradec

Imports

Exports

2009

78

71

81

103

2014

95

104

109

115

2018

107

105

113

106

2019

106

102

112

106

Developing economies: Asia and Oceania

Year

Volumea

Purchasing
power
of exportsb

Terms of
tradec

Imports

Exports

2009

70

68

68

97

2014

101

99

97

97

2018

111

114

109

98

2019

111

112

108

98

a
See note, figure 3 above.
b
This index indicates the change in exports, valuated in prices of imports, relative to the base year.
c
See note, figure 1 above.

Transition economies

Year

Volumea

Purchasing
power
of exportsb

Terms of
tradec

Imports

Exports

2009

90

98

90

100

2014

100

126

127

127

2018

110

119

119

108

2019

110

128

118

107

Developed economies

Year

Volumea

Purchasing
power
of exportsb

Terms of
tradec

Imports

Exports

2009

79

81

81

102

2014

98

96

97

99

2018

107

108

107

101

2019

106

108

108

101

a
See note, figure 3 above.
b
This index indicates the change in exports, valuated in prices of imports, relative to the base year.
c
See note, figure 1 above.
Table 2

Selected trade indices, landlocked developing countries

(2015=100)

Economy

Volumea

Purchasing
power
of exportsb

Terms of
tradec

Imports

Exports

2014

2019

2014

2019

2014

2019

2014

2019

Afghanistan

95

154

90

93

90

167

94

108

Armenia

91

158

119

169

89

176

98

112

Azerbaijan

99

100

92

124

158

112

159

112

Bhutan

93

98

77

86

93

101

100

102

Bolivia (Plurinational State of)

108

94

111

90

145

90

134

96

Botswana

128

86

99

89

119

81

93

95

Burkina Faso

101

132

100

161

97

148

96

113

Burundi

104

139

79

100

96

144

92

104

Central African Republic

102

181

106

170

104

171

102

94

Chad

99

87

109

53

158

103

159

118

Eswatini

97

106

105

122

97

108

100

102

Ethiopia

97

102

81

85

99

92

102

90

Kazakhstan

111

105

124

119

158

120

142

115

Kyrgyzstan

119

118

122

116

114

131

96

111

Lao People's Dem. Rep.

63

150

67

104

64

149

103

99

Lesotho

86

109

98

94

79

99

92

92

Malawi

123

83

105

122

111

78

90

94

Mali

92

112

91

119

90

124

98

111

Moldova, Republic of

99

138

105

141

93

136

95

98

Mongolia

98

123

119

153

107

155

109

126

Nepal

120

138

100

174

108

126

90

91

Niger

117

105

103

111

123

103

105

97

North Macedonia

102

156

99

140

96

151

94

97

Paraguay

102

85

103

106

101

79

98

94

Rwanda

97

151

92

109

94

164

97

108

Tajikistan

97

121

110

92

96

133

99

110

Turkmenistan

125

125

133

40

163

94

130

75

Uganda

90

150

96

131

87

148

97

98

Uzbekistan

105

134

111

183

112

142

106

106

Zambia

122

99

106

85

128

100

105

100

Zimbabwe

108

121

92

84

105

127

97

105

a
See note, figure 3 above.
b
See See footnote "b", table 1 above.
c
See note, figure 1 above.
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