World merchandise exports grew by 2%, while services trade recorded 5% increase in 2013

14 April 2014

‚ÄčEstimates of global international trade for 2013 are published today. These statistics cover annual and quarterly merchandise and services transactions - up to q4 2013. Furthermore, seasonally adjusted quarterly statistics are now available for the volume of international merchandise commerce.

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

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