exporters and importers in world merchandise trade, 2000
exporters and importers in world trade in commercial services,
Western Europe and the transition economies is expected to increase
somewhat more than 2%, while that of North America is likely to be
below the global average. Japan is certain to experience a contraction
in exports, coupled with a moderate growth in imports.
projections are based on preliminary figures for the first half of
2001 which suggest that the deceleration of trade growth this year
will be much sharper than previously expected (early in 2001, trade
was expected to grow by about 7% this year). An important factor
behind the sharper-than-expected slowdown in world economic growth is
the steep fall in expenditure on information technology products.
Other factors include the unexpectedly strong slowdown in demand
growth in Western Europe and the stagnation of merchandise imports
into the United States.
in the value of North America's trade decelerated throughout the first
six months of 2001, and in the second quarter both exports and imports
were below their year-earlier levels. Western Europe's merchandise
exports and imports values are estimated to have increased by only
2.5% and 1.5%, respectively (measured in euros, the increases are 9.5%
and 8.5%, respectively). For the world as a whole, the value of
merchandise trade was up only 1% in the first half, compared with a
12.5% gain for 2000 as a whole.
growth in trade in 2000 back
report notes that 2001 contrasts sharply with the outstanding growth
in global output and trade in 2000, when the expansion of merchandise
output and trade — by 4.5% and 12% respectively — was the strongest in
more than a decade. Economic growth accelerated in all major regions
in 2000. North America and developing Asia, which had each recorded
GDP growth above the global average in 1999, recorded only moderate
accelerations. In contrast, economic activity picked up strongly in
South America and Russia, after stagnating the previous year. Africa's
output growth is estimated to have strengthened in 2000, but to a
level still below that of other developing nations, while Western
Europe's economic growth increased to 3.4%, its strongest expansion in
the last decade. Japan's recovery meanwhile remained modest and
developing countries made an above average contribution to the
vigorous expansion of world output and trade in 2000. The estimated
15% increase in the volume of merchandise exports from developing
countries was three times faster than their GDP growth, and their
shares in world trade and output continued to increase as it has done
throughout the 1990s. Moreover, only a small part of this is the
result of higher oil prices. It is due rather to their ability to
expand their role in world exports of manufactured goods, the most
dynamic part of world trade. Developing countries accounted for 27% of
world exports of manufactures in 2000, a remarkable increase from
their 17% share in 1990.
other developments in 2000 highlighted in the study are:
value of world merchandise exports was up 12.5% in 2000, triple
the 1999 growth rate, to $6.2 trillion. World exports of
commercial services rose 6% in 2000 reaching $1.4 trillion, with
transportation services showing the strongest growth.
product categories in merchandise trade with the highest growth
were fuels (up 50% to $630 billion) and office and telecom
equipment (up 20% to $940 billion). Exports of agricultural
products recorded the weakest growth of all major product
categories (up 2% to $560 billion).
growth in the information technology sector was particularly
beneficial for North America and Asia, while the rise in world
energy demand and the recovery of oil prices boosted the economies
of the oil exporting countries.
value of North American merchandise exports rose by 12.5%, more
than twice as fast as in the preceding year and faster than the
10% increase in exports of commercial services from the region.
Europe recorded its fastest trade and output growth — on a
volume basis — in the past decade, as merchandise exports and
imports rose by about 10%, twice as fast as in the preceding year.
America's sharp rise in output in 2000 was mainly due to the
recovery in Brazil and strong GDP growth in Mexico. The latter's
real trade growth was three to four times higher than that of the
rest of Latin America last year.
and the transition economies recorded both the highest export
growth among the major regions and the largest increase in
imports, highlighting once again that dynamic exporters are
dynamic importers. Despite the moderate acceleration of Asia's
economic growth in 2000, its trade volume surged by more than 15%,
about twice the average growth rate for the 1990s.
dollar value of Africa's merchandise exports rose by more than
one-quarter last year, lifting Africa's share to 2.3% of world
49 least-developed countries (LDCs) as a group shared in the
dynamic global output and trade expansion, as their GDP and trade
growth exceeded the global average. The US dollar value of their
merchandise exports rose by 28% although with highly divergent
developments by country.
differences in the export performance among the LDCs can be
largely attributed to their product structure. Oil-exporting LDCs
boosted their export values between 60 and 120% and the seven LDCs
exporting primarily manufactured goods recorded a rise of 23%.
However, exporters of non-fuel primary products — the majority of
LDCs — as well as countries with civil strife, recorded a decline
in their export earnings last year.
developments of Regional Trade Agreements showed a great variation
in 2000. Intra-trade of MERCOSUR and ASEAN expanded faster than
total merchandise trade while for the EU and CEFTA intra-regional
trade rose less rapidly than extra-regional trade. Intra-trade of
NAFTA expanded faster than its exports to other regions. However,
NAFTA imports from other regions rose as fast as its intra-trade.
trade accounts for a smaller share of total trade in commercial
services than for merchandise trade in both the EU and NAFTA. For
the EU the share of intra-trade in commercial services was 55% in
2000, roughly unchanged from the early 1990s. For NAFTA, the share
in 2000 was, at less than one quarter of total services trade,
about half the rate recorded for merchandise trade.
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