Statistics is an inherent part of UNCTAD. Being the United Nations' focal point for the integrated treatment of trade and development and the interrelated issues in the areas of finance, technology, investment and sustainable development, UNCTAD compiles, validates and processes a wide range of data collected from national and international sources. Most of the time series cover long periods
, with some dating back to 1948, for almost all economies of the world
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Statistics at a glance
World merchandise exports grew by 2% in 2013, while trade in services recorded a 5% global increase
According to UNCTAD and WTO estimates, world merchandise exports grew by 2.1% in 2013 (current prices). The strongest exports growth was observed in developing Eastern Asia (6.5%). At the same time, exports contracted the most in Northern Africa (-10.6%). Imports grew particularly in developing countries of Western Africa (8.6%) and Eastern Asia (6.2%), while they decreased the most in developed Oceania (-5.8%), followed by developed Asia (-5.5%).
In real terms, quarterly figures show that world merchandise exports and imports volume increased by 3.6% and 2.8%, respectively, in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared with the corresponding period of the year before. Developing economies registered the fastest exports growth among the major groups (4.2%), followed by developed region (3.2%).
On a seasonally adjusted basis, world exports volume decreased by 1.1% from the previous quarter. According to this indicator, developed countries maintained the same level of exports during the fourth quarter of 2013 - compared to the quarter before - while developing and transition economies exported less in volume terms.
Services are increasingly being traded internationally, reaching 4.7 trillion dollars of global exports in 2013 and recording a 5% annual growth (current prices). The most dynamic services sectors between 2008 and 2013 were computer and information services (9.1 % annual average growth), followed by personal, cultural and recreational services (8.9 %), then by other business and professional services (6.8 %). It is in computer and information services sector that developing economies record highest growth rates: 13 % on average annually since 2008, compared with 7.5 % for developed countries. Other fast growing services sector for developing nations are financial and insurance services, with average yearly rise of almost 11%. LDCs record highest increase in computer and information services, insurance service and construction: some 30% on average annually since 2008. However, these sectors together represented just 7% of LDCs' total services exports in 2013. In LDCs, as in a majority of regions, travel and transport account for a large part of services exports (some 60% in LDCs, 54% in developing regions, and about 40% in the developed world).
Annual average growth rates of merchandise and services exports, 2008 - 2013 (%)
Sources: UNCTAD and WTO
Published: 14 April 2014