World Trade Statistical Review Released

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The WTO has released the new editions of its flagship statistical publications: the World Trade Statistical Review, Trade Profiles and World Tariff Profiles.

The World Trade Statistical Review 2017 highlights global trends in both merchandise and services trade, revealing which sectors and economies have achieved the strongest growth and which have been hit the hardest.

Highlights of World Trade Statistical Review 2017:

World merchandise exports decreased by 3 per cent:

The 3 per cent decrease in value terms of world merchandise exports in 2016 was mostly caused by the strong decline in exports of fuels and mining products (-14 per cent in 2016). However, the decline for this category was less marked than in 2015 (-36 per cent). Exports of manufactured goods decreased slightly (-2 per cent) while exports of agricultural products registered a slight increase (+1 per cent).

Exports of manufactured goods totalled US$ 11.2 trillion in 2016, representing more than 70 per cent of total world exports in 2016. The steep decline in commodity prices recorded in 2015 mostly halted in 2016, with the exception of energy prices. The export prices of all major commodity groups, apart from food and beverages, decreased slightly but on a much smaller scale than in 2015.

Prices for food and beverages registered a small increase of 1 per cent. This was mostly due to unfavourable weather conditions in several parts of the world making many of these products more scarce.The prices of minerals and non-ferrous metals decreased by 5 per cent in 2016 but there was an increase in prices for some commodites, such as tin (+12 per cent), zinc (+8 per cent), lead (+4 per cent) and iron ore (+4 per cent).  A fall in prices, however, was recorded for uranium (-28 per cent), nickel (-19 per cent) and copper (-12 per cent).

Energy prices fell by 18 per cent, with the highest decline registered by natural gas (-34 per cent). Prices for crude petroleum fell by 18 per cent but coal prices went up by 14 per cent.

European Union remains top exporter of agricultural products:

The top six exporters of agricultural products remained unchanged in 2016 (see Chart 4.3). The European Union remains the top exporter (38 per cent of the export market, +1 percentage point compared with 2015).

Argentina climbed from tenth to seventh position in 2016. Thailand dropped by one position to eighth place, and Australia dropped from eighth to tenth position. India remained ninth largest exporter as in the previous year.

The top five exporters of agricultural products were also the top exporters of food in 2016. Three of the top five are net exporters of food (European Union, Brazil and Canada) while two (United States and China) are net importers of food. Five out of the top ten exporters of agricultural products increased their exports in 2016 compared with a decline in exports for all ten in 2015.

The highest annual percentage change in 2016 was recorded by Argentina with an increase of 7 per cent, followed by China (+5 per cent). The greatest decline in exports was recorded by Australia (-6 per cent). The top ten exporters collectively represented more than 73 per cent of world exports of agricultural exports in 2016.

Russia and Qatar hit by decline in gas prices:

The top exporters of fuels and mining products were hit by a decline in prices in 2016. However, the decline (in prices) of 18 per cent was not as marked as the 47 per cent decline recorded in 2015.

Nine out of the top ten exporters saw decreases in their exports of fuels and mining products, with the exception of Australia (+0.4 per cent) which profited from price increases, especially in iron ore and coal. The biggest declines in exports were recorded by the Russian Federation (-33 per cent) and Qatar (-32 per cent) which are more dependent on exports of natural gas than the other top exporters.

The United States became the third biggest exporter of fuels and mining products in 2016, with Saudi Arabia dropping from third to fourth position in 2016. Qatar fell from seventh to tenth place.

Export values of iron and steel drop sharply:

The top exporters of iron and steel were hit by low export prices and sluggish demand in 2016. They all saw declines in their exports of iron and steel, ranging from -1 per cent (India) to -15 per cent (United States).

The European Union remained the top exporter with a 38 per cent share of world exports of iron and steel. The Russian Federation rose from sixth to fifth position in 2016, while India climbed from tenth to eighth place. The United States fell from fifth to sixth position, Brazil from seventh to ninth position and Ukraine from ninth to tenth place.

Swiss exports of chemicals increase by 9 per cent:

The top ten exporters of chemicals remained mostly unchanged in 2016, with the exception of India (rising from ninth to eighth place) and Canada (falling from eighth to ninth position).

Three out of the top ten exporters of chemicals increased their export values, namely Switzerland (+9 per cent), Japan (+4 per cent) and India (+2 per cent). Exports from the Republic of Korea stagnated while exports declined for the other top ten exporters. The greatest decline was recorded by Chinese Taipei (-9 per cent) followed by Canada (-7 per cent).

China’s exports of office and telecom equipment fall by 8 per cent:

Among the top ten exporters of office and telecom equipment, China recorded the biggest decline (-8 per cent) in 2016. However, it still represents about one-third of world exports of office and telecom equipment. Singapore’s exports fell by 5 per cent while the exports of the Republic of Korea declined by 4 per cent. The exports of the European Union and the United States remained at about the same level as in 2015 while a slight increase in exports was recorded by Chinese Taipei (+2 per cent) and Japan (+1 per cent).

EU regains 50 per cent share of world exports of automotive products:

The European Union’s exports of automotive products increased by 4 per cent in 2016, reaching a market share of 50 per cent, following a decline in its exports in 2015. Japan remained in second position (with an 11 per cent share of world exports; +8 per cent in 2016) followed by the United States (9 per cent share, -0.5 per cent).

The Republic of Korea fell from fifth to sixth position while Canada did the reverse (rising to fifth place). The ranking of the other top 10 exporters remained unchanged. The highest increases in exports were recorded by Turkey (+15 per cent) and India (+10 per cent) while exports from the Republic of Korea declined the most (-8 per cent).

Viet Nam breaks into top ten exporters of textiles:

China remained the top exporter of textiles in 2016 (with a 37 per cent share of world exports) even though its exports declined by 3 per cent. The next biggest exporters were the European Union (23 per cent share; 1 per cent increase in 2016) and India (6 per cent share; -6 per cent) – see Chart 4.9. Pakistan rose from ninth to seventh position while Viet Nam entered the top ten for the first time (2 per cent share; +9 per cent).

Clothing exports of Cambodia and Bangladesh increase by 6 per cent:

The top ten exporters of clothing in 2016 remained unchanged. However, Hong Kong (China) fell from fifth to sixth position and India did the reverse, rising to fifth place. China’s exports of clothing fell by 7 per cent but it still stayed in top position, representing 36 per cent of world exports of clothing in 2016.

EU exports of clothing increased by 4 per cent in 2016, reaching a market share of 26 per cent. The highest increases were recorded by Cambodia and Bangladesh (+6 per cent for both countries). Exports of China and the United States declined the most (-7 per cent and -6 per cent respectively).

Asia records highest growth in travel earnings:

World exports of travel rose by 2 per cent in 2016, reaching US$ 1,205 billion. These exports measure travellers’ expenditure in goods and services during their stay abroad. The increase in 2016 reflected a 3.9 per cent increase in the number of international tourist arrivals worldwide.

Although security and health concerns remained an issue in several parts of the world, international tourist arrivals reached 1,235 million in 2016. Asian economies recorded the highest growth in international tourist arrivals, largely from passengers travelling within the region. This growth was fuelled by enhanced air connectivity and cheaper airfares.

Expanded tourism within Asia boosted the region’s travel exports, which increased by 5 per cent, the largest rise among all regions. Several leading and emerging Asian exporters saw robust growth rates.

Japan’s travel receipts rose by 25 per cent, the third consecutive year of double-digit growth. Australia, Thailand and India also recorded strong increases, reflecting a surge in international tourists.

What is the origin of “value added” in agro-industry supply chains?

Global value chains (GVCs) have contributed to the international fragmentation of production, especially in the manufacturing sector where countries and industries specialize in tasks and the production of inputs to a final product. The agro-food sector creates opportunities for developing economies to join GVCs through the production and exchange of agricultural products. Agro-food production chains allow small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to link up with smallholder farms – the core of business networks in emerging economies – so that they can reach out to international markets.

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